Jordan Drankoski: The Woman Behind Dancing for Donuts
Jordan Drankoski, the woman behind Dancing for Donuts is all about real talk and building a community of like-minded women. I cannot wait for you to her about her story. Other than her creative account title, I admired Jordan for her authenticity, her love for food especially donuts, and her passion in helping others. After knowing more about her creative career history as a professional dancer and hand model, I knew I needed to connect with her and I am so happy I did because she is one of the most humble and sweetest person ever! I know many of you will be able to resonate with Jordan’s words, values and story.
Hi Jordan! I am so grateful to have you here! Can you provide an introduction of yourself (what you are currently doing, hobbies, etc.)?
I’m so happy to be here! I’m 29. I used to live in New York. I went to college in New York City I danced my entire life, but I went to college for business and was dancing while I was there. I never thought I would do this, but I moved to California where I thought I would become a professional dancer...I moved to California about a week after I graduated. I danced professionally in LA for about 5 years. When I first got here, I didn’t know anything or anyone so I started a blog just mostly for my parents to read or my aunt who was always interested in what I was doing. It wasn’t really for anyone and in 2011 it wasn’t really a thing. So I was just really writing and taking really bad photos and then posting it.
While I was dancing I actually started going to business school at the same time. So I was dancing, going to business school, nannying, working at a restaurant and doing a lot of things and sometimes blogging fell by the waist-side. I really started picking it back up when I was about to graduate in 2016. It was early that year when I was getting ready for interviews for full-time jobs, so real 9-5 desk job. I thought if I really wanted to work in marketing which was what I wanted I should probably learn more about Wordpress and social media so I got back into my blog… then when I started my 9-5 job I started to get really bored. I was so used to doing a million things that even when I went to work, went home and eat, I was done by 8-8:30, so I just thought I might as well turn my energy into something creative. Ever since then, I had a few different social media jobs. I’m working at a skin care company now. In the past, I also worked in a few agencies. I really want to freelance in the future, be my own boss and do social media consultant for small businesses and for female entrepreneurs. So that is my goal.
“When I first got here, I didn’t know anything or anyone so I started a blog…”
That is so inspiring. I love hearing about your various career paths. To back up a little, where did you come up with the creative blog title because I absolutely love it?
It kind of just came up to me because I was a dancer and growing up, my dad used to get us donuts every Sunday. I didn’t grow up eating healthy because I was dancing at that time and I didn’t think about that stuff. I used to eat lots of sweets and my dad will bring us donuts.
Given your long history with dancing and modeling, what eventually propelled you to step away from them both?
I actually always knew I would. When I moved to LA, I thought I would be dancing for only 2 years. I missed New York and the East Coast everyday. I didn't move back because I ended up starting business school here in LA. After I graduated I knew I wanted a full time job and that never bothered me because I really wanted that. I wanted to step away from dancing as I grew older because it doesn't last forever. There will always be girls that are younger than you...it’s an industry that can be very shallow. It’s really about your physical body. I would dance for about 12 hours and get $100. We were getting paid less than minimum wage. It wears on your body and to be underpaid was not okay and really bothersome. I did more work overall on hand modeling because it was easier on my body and it didn’t make me feel really insecure. On top of that, to be constantly judged on your appearance and plus being underpaid was unappealing. The passion for dancing wore away. Now, I would want to go dancing any day, but when you’re auditioning it’s not fun. Not necessary financially stable. It’s taken a long time to figure out what to do. Now as I’m older I’m glad I got out of it because it wasn’t serving me for my health at least.
“To be constantly judged on your appearance and plus being underpaid was unappealing.”
It is so important to maintain your mental and physical health and I am glad you were able to recognize this. You mentioned while you were dancing and modeling there were a lot of girls who suffered from eating disorders or other body image issues, how has that affected you?
I feel really lucky that I never had an eating disorder. The dance and modeling industry can make you so self-conscious and insecure in general. I didn’t really feel that until I moved to LA because where I grew up, dancing was based on my abilities. I had a common body type so I didn’t stand out in anyway. Then when I danced in LA, it was hundreds of girls in the same room. We will stare at each other thinking, ‘well that girl has bigger boobs than me or she looks better than me.’ Those thoughts are something I would have never thought of. When you’re dancing your body is exposed all the time to everyone so you definitely feel self-conscious. They definitely affected me negativity. We were constantly picking each other apart and we had this tendency where we would say things like ‘I’m so bloated and the other would say, ‘Oh my god, do you see my stomach.’
You mentioned you started your blog when you moved to LA in around 2011. When did you began your Instagram account?
I started the blog and Instagram both in 2011, but started taking them both seriously in 2016. My Instagram was primarily modeling photos before. It was that up until I started getting into blogging so early 2016. Before that, there were a lot of modeling pictures in order to book jobs. Today, if I were to get a modeling job I would have to give them my Instagram handle because they would want to see your account. My goal back then was to book modeling jobs. I wanted them to see me as sexy because that was where all the good jobs were, the good music videos and the good commercials. I really started doing food about 2 years ago. When I started to shift gears I probably lost thousands of followers because they were not there to see pictures of food, they wanted to see me in my bikini. I’m so happy I’m not doing that anymore because I don’t want to do things that are not reflective of me, my personality and values. The best part of Instagram is connecting with people who like the same stuff. If I’m posting pictures that isn’t about me I can’t form those connections. It’s fulfilling to you as a person.
When you made the shift from modeling to more food-related posts, what gave you the confidence to move forward knowing that you might lose a lot of followers or it might not go as you think?
At first it was hard because I didn't see a lot of growth. I have a lot of friends who use Instagram as a part of their job. However, for me, I don’t see it that way. This is really fun. It’s about connecting with people. I’m not trying to be an Instagrammer. Confidence came from knowing this is for me and if people like it, awesome. I lose followers every day and that's fine because I'm not relying on those numbers to fulfill me. I’m relying on things like cooking, meeting new people. The shift also came more naturally for me because at that time I was trying to interview for corporate jobs and no one would take me seriously if I have all these modeling pictures. I didn’t think twice about and knew I needed to do that shift. I found myself caring more. It really boils down to checking in with yourself and reminding yourself that numbers do not matter.
What do you hope to accomplish through your blog or Instagram in the future?
For the future of my blog, I hope to really be myself and share and write what I want to write. The second thing is to form a community. I co-hosted an event last weekend with about 20 people from Instagram. I only knew 1 person in real-life. Everyone else we found through Instagram and that's really powerful, creating communities of women. When I comment I comment on something positive because as a woman I know we are self-conscious about everything and I know I am so I want to spread positivity. Third goal is hoping to reach more people through my blog as I want to go freelance one day. I hope the more people I can reach the more opportunities I can have for my business.
“I write anything and everything and hope I don’t offend anyone. You just have to show your personality and be yourself.”
If you can give one message to your followers, what would it be?
I know this is so cliche but be yourself. If this message is in terms of social media, I treat my Instagram like a diary. I write anything and everything and hope I don’t offend anyone. You just have to show your personality and be yourself. But I also think it applies to life. For a lot of years as I was dancing like I said I wanted to be somebody else. I wanted to be perceived as something that I wasn’t. And maybe that’s why I didn’t book the Beyonce jobs that others wanted. I was trying to be someone else and I don’t think that works or is sustainable. I don’t think it’s good for anyone especially you.
Thank you Jordan for being here and sharing with us your story! To stay connected with Jordan, follow her on Twitter @jdranks, Instagram @dancing.for.donuts, or Facebook @dancingfordonuts and YouTube!