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November 29, 2022
Fig Authentic: Avanté Kendall
For Avanté Kendall, breaking new ground is born out of a desire to try new things and perform. As a young male competing for the roles traditionally assigned to women, he puts self-doubt aside, leaning into his goals and talent born out of practice, practice, practice. “I learned from my family to go after what you want, to be unstoppable,” Avanté said. “They have always supported me.” As a result, Avanté is a young adult with an authentic sense of self-forging new ground for himself and others.
Avanté’s confidence comes with a disarming sense of ease, despite the fact this young man has been paving new paths since middle school. In eighth grade, he played the lead part of Ursula in The Little Mermaid, a character typically played by a woman. How did he do it? He really wanted a lead role. “It started jokingly, like, I am going to play Ursula,” he laughs. “Then I got serious, thinking I can really do this!” Avanté admits that his director was skeptical at first. “If you can pull it off…,” she said. He too had his doubts; could he
play Ursula in drag? But pull it off he did. “I think it was the way I embodied Ursula. She is sassy, she’s not afraid, she’s powerful, even scary!” Once cast, everyone was supportive.
“They saw I was right for the part,” he said. Even the opening night worries about the audience reaction faded quickly. “The first night, opening the show was a hit, and the audience was happy and clapping,” Avanté said. “I didn’t give it another thought.”
Avanté was not done breaking ground. Moving into high school, he had his sights on becoming a majorette. Twirling since eighth grade, Avanté put his mind on practice, not
on barriers. “I practiced all the time, all night, I practiced constantly,” he said. Not only did he make the squad, becoming only the second male to do so, Avanté will also go down in history as Liberty High School’s first head male majorette.
THE PATH AHEAD
Avanté’s aware that he’s broken through gendered roles, making space for others to follow. His advice is to focus on being authentic, true to yourself, and to push forward.
“My generation, we tend to not try new things, stick with what we know, we need to be more outgoing,” he said. Avanté’s undaunted determination shows how interests met with persistence can have surprising results. Others, it seems, will be able to see what we see in ourselves.
Avanté is not sure what exaclty the future holds but says, “I know performing will be part of it!”