When we hear of people who have become successful in their own ways, although it lingers in the back of our minds, we still rarely think about the struggles that have helped to build that foundation to bring them to that satisfaction with being who they are. Marny Florence, a living, breathing, walking representation of comfort with themselves. From looks to likes even to weaknesses. Marny is almost so comfortable with herself that she lives life nothing less than to the fullest.
A panelist on our second Life After High School event, Marny is truly one of those people who presents her aspirations to others as, inspirations. Starting at a young age with her love for dancing, from age 4 to 16, Marny danced her way through childhood. She danced every day in high school while handling her assignments, tests and exams. Growing up in Thornhill and going to Thornhill S.S for the High-Performance Athlete Program, Marny was always determined towards dance, school, and herself. Having the chance to interview Marny was such a great experience, she really lifts you up, especially with her charismatic personality. It’s almost hard to believe that she had a hard time making friends at Thornhill S.S. Having the chance to switch to another school, changed not only her life but her overall attitude. She switched to Westmount Collegiate going from having “2 friends, to 200 hundred”. Marny said that she began sitting with everyone at lunch time, beginning with getting to know all the grade 9’s then working her way through the whole school. However, for Marny, it wasn’t about popularity that stood out, it was connections.
Fast forward to the end of high school, Marny thought about what she was going to pursue and ended with the decision of going into business. Without thinking twice, she applied to Ryerson University’s Business Program. Struggling with the system of the program and atmosphere, Marny went to her Guidance Counsellor asking for some direction. She suggested going to college. With some hesitation dissipating throughout her mind, Marny was unsure. The Dean said that people who are coming out of the George Brown’s 2- year Business Program were becoming more successful that the graduates of Ryerson’s 4- year Business Program. At Westmount, they had strongly discouraged the idea of college. Illustrating the fact that it was for the “less smart” or people who wanted to become something along the lines of mechanics. Marny always had the mindset that enabled her to try new things, like the “i’ve got nothing to lose” kind of mindset. So Marny went into the George Brown Event Planning program. She surprisingly enjoyed it, saying that it was more “real life” projects and assignments that you could take away from each class, every day. Saying that Ryerson was more by the book, learning things that, to her felt unnecessary.
After 2 years at George Brown, Marny graduated feeling more confident than ever. After doing something that she loved, she could go away knowing she has something to show and offer. Wanting to be a cheerleader, Marny went on to chase her dreams. Wanting to cheerlead for the Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Argonauts, and many more, Marny received 7 rejections. However, refusing to sit in misery, she went on.
Soon after Marny applied to being a cheerleader for the Toronto Rock, a Canadian lacrosse team. Manry was relieved when is refused the acceptance. She was having so much fun she forgot about all the other rejections. She was so grateful. She now teaches at 10 different dance studios, performs and 200 Megan Boy parties and is a brand ambassador for places like OLG, Nutella, Nike. Marny choreographed several musicals and was on Alessia Cara’s Scars To Your Beautiful music video. Although Marny has her life under control, she still loves meeting new people and hearing about the different ways that you can take your life.
I asked Marny what her advice was to youth going through that rough transition. Her advice was simple, but brim. First, make good impressions on everyone you meet (but not fake, be you), second, read and explore and search, learn as much as you can about things that interest you. Third, like her Westmount and George Brown experience, don’t be afraid to try things that were forcefully shoved in your head. Fourth, enjoy time. You may think it’s simple because you’ve heard it so many times, but when you truly try, it’s harder than you think. I asked Marny a personal question like what were her struggles as well as how did she feel comfortable with pursuing what she wants without pleasing people close to her? Her answer was that at first she felt that she wasn’t the best dancer but she went on, wanting friends was also a driving force for her but she said one thing that really leapt out at me. If you believe in yourself, you don’t need validation from others because at the end of the day the only person it’s affecting is you. Manry is so satisfied with herself now that she doesn’t need to care what other people think. Shifting on to her home life, Marny has a shitzu and prefers warm showers than cold showers even on hot days. And she loves quality time, either with herself or others, mostly her dog. Among all, Marny cannot help but enjoy the fun in life, like we all do. But unlike some, Marny found a way to make it her life and be successful as ever. Showing that success isn’t happiness, but happiness is success.