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EXCLUSIVE: Allison Holker on Raising Gender-Neutral Kids With Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss

We’ve been Allison Holker fans since, well, since she was in High School Musical TBH. But her journey from So You Think You Can Dance to Dancing With the Stars just solidified her place in our groove-loving hearts. And now the professional dancer and mom of three has taken on an even more relatable role: impromptu backyard dance coach to the stars — er, the toddlers, as evidenced by the video below in which she teaches her 4-year-old son Maddox a dance routine.

But honestly, Holker’s most powerful actions as a parent during this (strange, upsetting) year had nothing to do with dance — and yet they struck a chord with fans everywhere. First, she and her husband, fellow performer Stephen “tWitch” Boss, made a TikTok video sharply acknowledging the privilege of white folks like Holker, while Black folks like tWitch undergo so much unnecessary fear and discrimination. Then, just a few weeks later when trolls came after Holker’s 12-year-old daughter Weslie to criticize her for “dressing like a boy,” Weslie clapped back and mama Holker was right there with her.

“Proud of my daughter for standing up for herself and using her voice,” Holker wrote on her Instagram. “We need to stop trying to tear each other down … instead we should stand together understanding our uniqueness is beautiful!” Um, calling out persistent white privilege and arbitrary gender stereotyping, all while teaching her kids that their uniqueness is beautiful? Every parent could take a page out of Holker’s book. We were thrilled to catch up with her about her powerful statements this year, her partnership with Banana Boat, and the tips for cultivating blended-family harmony that so many of us (hi) desperately need.

SheKnows: How was your quarantine with the kids? Are you venturing out again yet or playing it safe? 

Allison Holker: It’s been great! While we have ventured out a little, we’ve really been sticking pretty close to home, but we’ve been making the most of it. We have a daily routine – get up, get ready, have coffee/breakfast, put on sunscreen (we’ve been using Banana Boat Ultra Sport Spray SPF 50 because it’s water- and sweat-resistant) and head outside to enjoy some sun. We are fortunate to live in California where it’s practically summer year-round, so we can take the time to enjoy the pool or just do some fun games with the kids in the backyard. While we do our best to carve out some alone time, it’s been great to take advantage of all this time together as a family and make new memories. 

SK: How do you and tWitch keep active with all three kids — especially in trying times like quarantine? 

AH: Quarantining with kids can definitely be challenging — especially with kids at different ages, but we find that everyone in our family benefits from getting some fresh air and being active. We’ve created these games that the kids really love and can easily be done in your own backyard. This is why I loved partnering with Banana Boat for their #ProtectTheFun campaign. The brand is all about enjoying time with family and friends outdoors whether you are at the beach or in your backyard. We are always dancing and playing games so to be able to create videos on IGTV that help inspire other families to stay active during this time, it was really a perfect fit. You can check out the follow along dance tutorial for kids on my IGTV now and I’ll be sharing an outdoor family obstacle course video on July 27. Obstacle courses are a Boss family favorite! 

SK: Your video on white privilege was phenomenal. How do you talk to your kids about racism, and has your approach evolved over the years? 

AH: We tell our children the truth and educate them to the best of our ability.  So they can be the best equipped to understand whatever situations they might find themselves in. Our children are strong, and the more knowledge we allow them to have, the more prepared they can be.   

SK: What differences did you notice between your first and third pregnancies, 12 years apart? 

AH: They were all beautiful, and my experience in all three were so different, and the experience I had in each actually replicated my children’s personalities. I have been super blessed with all my pregnancies and labors to be smooth, safe and healthy. My children are the biggest blessing in my life!

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#BrandPartner You guys know how important I think it is to keep your family active and now that it’s officially Summer, it’s a great opportunity to take your favorite indoor activities outside. Dance will always be a staple in our home, so today Maddox and I are in the backyard to teach you a fun routine you can do with your family. Since we were getting our heart rates up, we needed a sunscreen that could provide clinically proven UVA/UVB protection and stand up to sweat, which is why we’re big fans of the @BananaBoatBrand’s Ultra Sport Lotion SPF 50. It’s sweat and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it perfect for families who don’t want to be slowed down when playing outside. Check out our tutorial, apply some @BananaBoatBrand Ultra Sport sunscreen and head outside to get dancing! #ProtectTheFun

A post shared by Allison Holker (@allisonholker) on

SK: What’s your best advice for blended family success? I know I need it! 

AH: Have the hard conversations. In these days, we can’t shy away from conversations because we feel like we might not have the “right” words. Instead, say “let’s look it up together,” and ask for help. And to that I say: Blended families are beautiful. We can share in our culture and celebrate both.   

SK: Your daughter Weslie’s recent clapbacks about her gender-neutral clothing were so good. Did you consciously raise her in a gender-neutral way? Or is she just an awesome badass all by herself? 

AH: We definitely raise our children in a gender-neutral place. We want our children to think for themselves, and we want them to feel comfortable expressing themselves to the fullest. Our family is so close because we can have honest conversations with each other.  I hope that will last a lifetime and trickle down into their future families. But I must say, I am so proud of my daughter Weslie.  She stood up for herself and so many others like her. She continues to be brave and stand strong for who she is.   

SK: How do you decide when/how much of your kids to share on social media? 

AH: It’s a constant conversation between my husband and I, but truly we feel our love in our family is so genuine, we have no problem sharing that with the world. In fact, we find that love is important to be shared. But that conversation could always change. But for now we share away!  

SK: Would you ever want your kids to be in a competition show?  

AH: If my kids wanted to be a part of a competition show, I would 100% be at their side. But that ultimately would be up to them to decide where and what they want to do with their talents.   

SK: What’s the funniest thing your kids have done lately? 

AH: Maddox is an entertainer, so literally all day is his show!  

 

SK: How did you choose your kids’ names? 

AH: I feel like all my children have told me their names. The names have always come to me in a dream.   

SK: That’s quite a skill. What’s your favorite children’s book to read to them?

AH: TICKLE MONSTER! The cutest children’s book, they all love it.

SK: What’s been your most embarrassing parenting moment so far? 

AH: Oh my goodness. Our family travels a lot for work. And I would consider us all pros. But everyone has that one experience, so there was just one time that was, well, let’s say a pretty terrible parenting moment. Both my husband and I somehow forgot to pack an extra change of clothes for Maddox when he was still in diapers. And that just so happened to be the one time he had a major blowout. We had no extra clothes for him, and airports of course don’t sell baby clothes, so Maddox had to wear an adult-sized tourist “I LOVE L.A.” shirt with no pants! Simply embarrassing! 

SK: Girl, we’ve all been there.

If you’ve got active kids like Holker’s, keep ’em well-shod all season with these great lightweight summer shoes and sandals for children.
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