The Greek goddess of victory must be looking over the shoulders of a young Turkish dancer. The goddess of victory was called Nike. Read the name backwards, and you will have Ekin, the young dancer who won the sports giant Nike’s Dance Competition in Turkey in 2006, and went on the following year to be a sports model for Nike.
Ekin Bernay is 22 now, studying her undergraduate degree at the London School of Arts, and continuing with her occasional work as a backup dancer for Turkish pop star Kenan Do?ulu. Ekin entered the Nike Dance Competition three years ago with a little bit of a push from her then university friends in Ankara’s Bilkent University, where she was studying Communication and Design. Ekin became first in the competition, and joined the winners from Holland, Israel, Spain and the UK to a trip to Los Angeles. There, they obtained the privilege to study with the legendary dancer and choreographer Jamie King, who’s known for his collaboration with stars like Madonna, Prince, Shakira and Christina Aguilera.
A lifelong passion
While she was sweating off with Jamie King, Ekin, turning 19, received what was perhaps the best birthday present of her life until that moment: a phone call asking her to be the model for Nike’s 2007 catalogues. She became the second person from Turkey to be featured in Nike’s promotional materials, the first one being soccer player Nihat Kahveci.
Dancing has always been a passion for Ekin, who started ballet when she was in primary school. She has worked with well-known Turkish choreographers like Ömür Uyan?k and Tunç Öz?akar since her childhood. Today, her lifelong passion continues to flourish, and she is learning even more at the London School of Arts. And who is Ekin’s favourite dancer? The energetic dancer known from Nike commercials: Kimberlee Jay.