She is only 11-years-old, but Ava Otto (daughter of Limp Bizkit drummer John Otto) is already gathering up a large following on social media and using her voice to influence a new generation of young professionals.
While her age may seem young, the mindset of Ava is anything but young. She has already accomplished a lot in her years, and like a lot of people growing up, she has experienced the ‘bad’ that humanity brings, like bullying.
Working through various social media platforms, Ava’s voice, style and relatability has proven that no matter what life gives you, you can do whatever you want and have a say!
From growing up with a famous father, to expressing her feelings on social media, to her upcoming new non-profit, Ava spoke to us about it all.
- How did you decide you wanted to start showing off your life on social media?
It was a professional decision my parents made when I was 8 years old. My mom helped me run my account back then, but as I’ve gotten older I write my content and communicate with my followers. I love to share dance videos, fun moments with my friends and my other passions on my account!
- Being so young, what do you believe are the pros and cons of social media?
The pros of social media are it’s a great way to get yourself out there. Platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok make it possible for people to connect with others who share similar interests.
The cons are social media platforms can be dangerous if people aren’t careful. There are a lot of online predators. My parents closely monitor my accounts and we take certain steps to keep me safe. It can can also be a toxic environment. Some people have unrealistic standards about beauty, lifestyles and relationships based upon what they see on social media. No one’s perfect. Everyone has struggles, but that isn’t what most people share. Most people show the best moments of their lives so I understand why people on the outside may think some people’s lives are perfect. I try to promote progress as the goal not perfection. I try to show the real aspects of my life.
- You have been bullied before. Can you share a bit about that experience and how that experience helped you to become a stronger person today?
Years ago I was bullied by some parents of dancers. It was a tough time for me because I was really young and didn’t understand why people who were nice to me started targeting me with mean comments and behavior. My parents, the studio staff and family friends supported me and made sure I knew the bullying wasn’t my fault. My mom and dad taught me the coping skills I needed to ignore the mean treatment and stay focused on my goals. I was thankful to leave that environment and happy to find a studio that makes me feel safe. Learning what makes people bully and how to handle bullying made me stronger because I learned other people’s behavior can’t take away my power to stay positive. Now, I help people who are being bullied understand it isn’t their fault and they aren’t alone. I tell them to talk to an adult they trust to help them resolve the issue. Today, I’m strong, confident and happy because I didn’t let any of the negative things people said or did break me.
- How has dance helped you to creatively show off your emotions and things you are going through?
When I’m dancing I try to tell a story. Sometimes I express how I’m feeling that moment or how an experience made me feel. When I’m feeling down I dance to lift my spirits. Dancing is also how I celebrate happy times in my life. The thing I love most about dance is it’s a an emotive sport and therapeutic.
- Being the daughter of someone famous – John Otto of Limp Bizkit – how has that played a role in your life decisions growing up?
Seeing my dad live his dream gives me the courage to pursue mine. My parents always encourage me to follow my passions and to dream big. I believe hard work, determination and commitment is what helps me achieve my goals. My dad has always thanked the people who helped him along his journey as a musician. That has taught me it’s important to be grateful for the people who support me and humble for the things I have.
- How do you feel or know that your posts and “influence” on social media has disrupted what “older” people think about the younger generation?
I know my posts are positively disrupting how “older” people look at my generation because I often get messages from adults who say my motivation inspires them to pursue their dreams. Many adults are surprised someone my age has big goals for myself and wants to help others achieve their goals too. Many adults have also said they are surprised to learn someone my age is so aware of what’s going on in the world. I’m thankful my parents educate me about life and encourage me to form my own opinions about things. Young people care about serious issues like our environment, justice, education, positive mental health and so many other important topics. I think my generation wants to break boundaries and change stereotypes. I want to be a part of that change.
- How do you feel you have disrupted either the dance or modeling industries with how you approach your work in them?
I’ve always focused on my own path in dance. For the last two seasons I was a pre-professional company member at Bobbie’s School of Performing Arts. Dancing at my studio has been life-changing for me! I’ve made so many great friends and I love my teachers and Ms. Jaime (Studio Owner). Last year, I worked hard and achieved every dance goal I set for myself. I was really proud of my accomplishments and happy I made my teachers proud. At the end of my season I decided not to compete this season in the traditional way I had for the last 6 years. Some people didn’t understand my decision because I was “successful” as a competitive dancer. That success was great, but I wanted to pursue other aspects of dance and focus on other professional goals. I love being part of a team, but I knew I couldn’t keep that commitment and be totally free to do what makes me happy. I’m so grateful for the love and support my parents, dance mentors and Ms. Jaime give me. They allow me to follow my heart and want me to do what feels right for me. They never force me to do things I’m not interested in doing. It feels good to know they respect me and trust my decisions along my dance journey.
- What’s next for you and what do you hope to accomplish?
I’m launching my non-profit organization in 2022! That has been a goal of mine since I thought if the idea during quarantine. My non-profit is focused on supporting other artists and their dreams. I’ve got some exciting upcoming dance projects I can’t wait to share when the time is right! Acting and singing haven’t been big priorities of mine, but I definitely plan to do more of both in the new year. A personal accomplishment I have for myself is to travel more, relax more and spend more time with the people I love.