At the age of 8, Asia Monet Ray has starred in two reality TV series, won countless dance competitions and garnered millions of fans worldwide. Ahead of her ninth birthday Aug. 10, the California powerhouse talked with International Business Times about the debut of her first solo program, “Raising Asia,” premiering Tuesday at 10 p.m. EDT on Lifetime.
“I feel blessed that other people believe in me and want to see my life,” Asia, a former “Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition” Season 1 finalist and most recently of “Dance Moms” fame, told the IBTimes of her new series.
While Asia is arguably already a household name among Lifetime viewers, the young performer says her new 14-episode series, which follows her journey to stardom alongside "momager" Kristie Ray, will give fans an inside look at her quest to become the “next Beyoncé.”
“In 10 years, I want to become her,” Asia said of the songstress. “My show is about my journey as a dancer, singer and actress, following my dream and working through the challenges I have to overcome to become the next megastar.”
Besides becoming the next big thing, Asia’s dreams also include expanding her family of dad, former bodybuilder Shawn Ray, and sister Bella Blue, 6, to incorporate a new four-legged friend.
“I also want to have a puppy. That’s one thing I really want,” said Asia when asked about her future in show business. “I want to have at least one puppy and I want to travel the world as a pop star and be in tons of movies.”
While “Dance Moms” viewers may be sad to hear that Asia is no longer involved in the competitive dancing circuit, Asia says dancing will always remain one of her top priorities.
“My first love will always be dancing. That’s where I come from,” Asia said. “But now I love singing and acting, and I’ve made room for all three. … I have been working very hard on my vocals and music. I think everyone will be very surprised.”
So how will “Raising Asia” differ from Asia’s other TV ventures? Mom Kristie Ray said the new series will focus on her family’s dynamics while also showing viewers a never-before-seen side of her daughter’s talents and personality.
“I think the show will show a different side to her,” Ray said of her oldest, adding that "Raising Asia" offered her daughter a chance to step out of the group setting offered by Abby Lee Miller’s series “Dance Moms.”
“You’re seeing a glimpse of Asia, but you’re not really getting to know Asia as the 8-year-old, you’re only getting to know Asia as the performer in a cast,” Ray said of her daughter’s time on Miller’s program. “It’s very limited and obviously [the] show does hold the kids back on letting them be themselves," she added. Still, she considers the program beneficial for Asia as well as for Miller's other girls.
Similar to their side-by-side roles in “AUDC” and “Dance Moms,” Ray said the show will feature not just their working relationship but also their mother-daughter bond.
“It’s going to show what makes Asia be Asia and our relationship as mom and daughter and our relationship as a team,” said Ray. “Now you’ll see what we do every day and what we sacrifice. It’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of energy.”
Ray and Asia hope the series will give viewers a chance to know Asia better as a person, not just a star.
“[Asia] said: ‘The ones that love me will love me, and the ones that maybe don’t like me as much, maybe they will just learn to respect that I just love what I’m doing.’ That's her big thing,” said Ray. “She just wants people to know that she’s a normal 8-year-old.”
“Raising Asia” premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. EDT on Lifetime.
Catch up with Asia on her newly launched website, iamasiamonet.com.