Kobie Jarmon is not your typical millennial. At just 22 she’s juggling more than some women twice her age, with a college graduation that’s less than five months away, a hard-won position as captain of the University of Louisville’s national champion Ladybirds dance team and recurring gigs as a sought-after choreographer for other college and high school teams. Oh — and she’s also a star on Lifetime’s new reality show “So Sharp,” which chronicles all the blood, sweat and pirouettes on the Ladybirds’ quest for another dance title. Here, Kobie explains how she manages to accomplish so much, the secret behind all of those really, really hard dance tricks and how she tries to avoid all of the reality TV drama. Welcome this week’s FACE of the South.
How long have you been dancing, and why did you start?
This is my 20th year dancing. I started dance classes when I was 3 because my mom said I was always dancing even when there was no music playing, and I taught myself how to turn cartwheels. Then, when I turned 5, I started competing. I just saw the older girls doing all of their dances and performing them at practice, and I told my mom, “That’s what I want to do.”
Did you grow up wanting to be a Louisville Ladybird?
Actually, I had no idea who they were until my senior year of high school when I was applying to colleges. The only schools I got into were more academic based, and they had no real athletic foundation, so Louisville was the last school that I applied to that had a big sports program. Then I went on YouTube and watched the Ladybird national championship team, and I was like, “Okay, this is where I want to go.”
Your coach, Todd Sharp, says that you guys aren’t just dancers — you’re athletes. What’s your take on that?
I definitely agree that we are athletes. When it comes to our practice schedule, it changes by semester, but for the most part, we practice every single day, sometimes four to five hours a day. Sometimes we have two-a-days, where we’ll practice at 5 a.m. and then at night. We also have a training session once per week with a personal trainer, and we’re expected to maintain outside personal workouts, like an hour of cardio or strength training.
When we start doing nationals routines [to compete for the national championship], we start doing a lot of tricks, especially in hip hop. A lot of it is partner tricks, and if you don’t have the strength to do them, you could get really hurt. So making sure that you have enough muscle mass and endurance to get the routines is what really matters.
How do you balance school, dance, workouts and the show?
A lot of prayers. Honestly, my day starts sometimes at 7 a.m. and doesn’t end until 1 or 2 in the morning. This past season, with the show and dance, I also worked three jobs. [Juggling everything] has really shown me how to prioritize, and even though I’m a procrastinator, I’m really organized. I know when my classes are; I know when I have homework due; I know where I’m supposed to be at what time. So I always know what I’m supposed to be doing, and I keep four schedules with me, so at any moment I know where I’m supposed to be.
What advice do you have for readers who are trying to balance multiple responsibilities?
I would definitely say that it comes down to organization, but also, just don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and try something new. You never want to go through your life saying, “What if?” So if you have the time, or if you can make the time, always try to do what you love and what you want to do.
There was a month where I wasn’t able to do something simply because I didn’t think I had the time, and I did. And the whole next month, I was like, “I wish I could have done this.” So afterward, I just decided to make the time, and I prioritized and rearranged my schedule to make it happen.
Before you joined the cast of “So Sharp,” were you a big reality TV fan?
I’m a huge reality TV fan. I’m not the biggest people person — I’m a true introvert at heart and a homebody — but I do interact with people and children all day long. So when I get home, it’s my 30 minutes of peace and quiet before it’s time to go to bed, so I just sit and watch other people’s lives. To me it’s more entertaining than a scripted show.
You’ve obviously seen the drama that can unfold on reality TV. So how do you stay above the fray on “So Sharp”?
I do have a hot temper, and I can snap back really fast. So once I got in those types of situations, I really tried to think about [the long-term effects]. What is this going to do for me in five days? Am I still going to be thinking about this? Is this going to be the end of the world? Am I going to need to move home? What really, is the root of this issue?
I’m the type of person who, if I have a problem or an issue with anything, I like to handle it right then and there and then move on. I don’t like to dwell on it. I don’t like to make it this big production, and a lot of times girls can do that. So I definitely try to nip any situation in the bud right then and there. But then, if it doesn’t warrant a response, or if someone is just looking for a reaction out of me, I try to push it to the side.
What are your plans after graduation? Will you still be dancing?
I graduate in December, so hopefully next fall I’ll get into grad school, and I’ll go to grad school for two years. I really want to work for the NFL in player operations and game day marketing. Honestly, everyone thinks that I’m going to want to dance, and I never say never, but I need to give my body a rest for a while. And I travel to do choreography for different universities and high schools, and I teach private lessons and coach a middle school team, so after I graduate, that’ll be the only dancing that I do — the teaching and choreography aspect. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid. I never really wanted to be on a dance team after college, however, I have dreamed of going on tour with an artist before I hang up my dance shoes. I’ve always wanted to teach and help kids grow and give them the personal attention I wish I would have gotten coming from big studios.
Aside from faith, family and friends, what are three things you can’t live without?
Food, sleep and candles.
Catch more of Kobie Jarmon on “So Sharp,” which airs on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. central time on Lifetime. Click here to learn more.
Thank you to Leila Grossman of Grannis Photography for the gorgeous photos of Kobie.
Meet more inspiring Southern women in our FACES series. Click here!