Mikaila Murphy, better known by her millions of fans as Mikailadancer, is the body positive dancing sensation reaching stratospheric fame on TikTok. Mikaila’s 13.3 million followers can’t get enough of her freestyle, booty shaking confidence and creative video content. You’ve never seen so many different ways to twerk and the internet is here for it! At age 21, this technically trained dancer has gone from struggling dance instructor juggling shifts at Target to newly minted TikTok millionaire in a little over a year.
This is the story of how Mikaila Murphy manifested her dreams of dance stardom on her own terms, and created one of the largest and most influential platforms on social media. But first she had to recover from teenage years fraught with body shaming from love interests. “I finally stopped letting men put me down and started loving myself,” she says. That self-love became contagious. “When I first started dancing on TikTok,” says Mikaila, “I would get messages saying, “How are you so confident?” and “You are helping me feel better about my own body.” I realized that as I was helping myself, I was helping others, and I was hooked.”
Bucking the retouched and surgery enhanced trend, she subscribes to little to no makeup, embracing her natural body, her long red hair, her natural skin and facial features. Authenticity and no f*cks given body love is the Mikailadancer brand that’s officially generated seven figures in revenue since January 2021.
It all began when her grandfather, whom she credits with shaping her life, introduced her to the classics like Shirley Temple and Bojangles, encouraging her love of dance from the time she was a toddler. By age 3, Mikaila was studying tap and ballet which continued up through high school. While she enjoyed tap classes, ballet was traumatic for the naturally curvaceous teen who was told she was too thick to be a ballerina.
“As a dancer, you have to take ballet as part of your foundational training. I don’t have a ballerina’s body, and to add insult to injury, I was forced to wear a leotard.” Body image issues began to take root until Mikaila turned her attention to the grittier moves of heels dancing and hip hop dance prevalent in her native Detroit, Michigan. Through more urban dance styles, she was encouraged to embrace her curvy frame and develop her love of free body expression, which lent itself to more expressive and sexier dance moves. “I began to embrace my shape and love the way I could move my body to express my femininity and sensuality.” she says.
Mikaila insists that she twerks for herself, and that owning her sexuality has always been a natural extension of who she is. “I’m not twerking for male attention,” she insists. “I’m doing it for me and for all the girls out there who were told ‘you’re not good enough as you are.’ I’m letting my fans know, your body is beautiful just as it is.”