Photography Anise Mariko
Groomer: Sinh Vo Editor: Rhonda McKnight
Michael Le is a dancer, choreographer, and prolific social media personality. With over 52 million followers and over 1 billion likes on TikTok, Michael is one of the most influential creators on the platform. Michael’s message has always been to inspire others and spread love & positivity. This evolved into his brand Shluv, which stands for self-love. Michael recently made a cameo in the Marvel Studios feature film, “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” He often collaborates with his family, brothers Jonathan and Daniel, sister Tiffany, and mom Tina, better known as Shluv Family, and has also collaborated with other creators and celebrities including Terry Crews, Jason Derulo, Iggy Azalea, and Charli D’Amelio.
What makes a good Tik Tok influencer in your eyes? What makes your channel special?
I think a good TikTok influencer is someone who can create original content and just share their passions in their own unique way. What makes me special, just like anyone else, is that I’m able to draw on my background as a professional dancer, storyteller, and director to create content and tell these cool, unique stories through movement.
Who was the first influencer you saw and said I can do that? What inspires you in life?
The first influencer that inspired me was Ryan Higa. I loved that he was able to create a career for himself doing what he loved, which was skits and just having fun on YouTube. What inspires me in life is being able to just be happy by doing what I love and being surrounded by the people that I love.
What's your signature style?
I would say my style has changed over the years, but I would describe it as Asian streetwear. I’ve been inspired by K-Pop a lot recently, so that’s kind of my vibe right now. I see you are also a dancer. What is your favorite type of dance? It's 100% hip-hop. I think hip-hop has really evolved into more of a fusion style of dance. It allows you to be able to express yourself and be creative. I would say hip-hop and fusion.
How was it to open the Kids Choice Awards this year?How long does it usually take you to create an original choreography for big projects like that one?
It was really exciting. I haven’t performed in over 3 years. I would say it ranges how long it takes me to choreograph. This piece took me about half an hour, which is not that long. Back in the day, I was able to create a lot of choreography really fast. Now, if I had to choreograph more than 30 seconds, it would probably take me one to three hours. It’s always special to be able to perform and share my work with a live audience.
What's your health routine like to stay so active?
I’m getting back into it right now. I’m starting to take more dance classes every day, Monday-Friday. I'm doing a lot of calisthenics and cardio for about an hour to an hour and a half every day during the week.
If TikTok got banned from the US what would be your first move?
My first move, which I'm already doing, regardless of whether it gets banned or not, is to focus on expanding my content across all of my platforms, specifically YouTube. YouTube has been such a staple social media platform in the past, and it was the original platform that I was excited about when I started my career.
How important is a team to you? Do you hire family to work with you on projects?
Team is everything; I think it takes a village to make things happen. For me, being able to create larger stories with my family, and having a team I can rely on is really important. I’ve hired family members in the past, but I would say that it’s less about being related and more about the skill set everyone brings to the table. I’m very lucky to have such an amazing team and family that always encourages me to follow my dreams.
Where do you call home? Where in the world do you want to travel that you've never been before and why?
I would say home is where my friends and family are. I think that being comfortable and having my own sanctuary where I can express myself and relax and be able to hang out with my friends and family is really, really important. So wherever that is, that is where I consider home. I want to travel to Japan very badly. I am a big fan of Asian culture and anime culture. Japan is the epicenter, and somewhere I'd love to explore.
What projects do you have lined up for later in 2023 and 2024 that you love your fans to save the date?
A big project I’m excited about, other than YouTube, is my first live dance convention, which is going to be hosted July 26th-27th. It's called CRE8. It’s going to be the first dance convention that merges the dance world and social media. I will be giving everyone a lot more information on that soon. You will be able to check that out on the website and social media. I can’t wait to share everything with you guys. We’re going to have a ton of dance classes and opportunities to create your own dance content. You’re going to be able to meet influential dance creators and watch an amazing two-hour show that we are putting together!
Any last words or comments for your fans?
I took a short break to figure out who I want to be and what I want to represent, and I think I've figured that out now. You guys are going to see a lot of passion projects that I'm putting my heart and soul into this year, specifically with YouTube, so definitely stay tuned and I can't wait to share what I have coming up next.