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It’s hard to distract from a superstar on stage, but we’re voting backup dancer Taylor James most likely to steal the spotlight. The Canadian heartthrob has danced all over the world for some of music’s biggest names, including Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Ke$ha, as well as in major projects like Glee and the Grammys. When he’s not shredding up the stage, he’s shedding his clothes on camera for his new YouTube talk show Shirtless Politics, where, you guessed it, he takes off his clothes and discusses what’s happening in our current political climate. We caught up with him at his home in Los Angeles as he packed up to head off to his next gig (dancing with Real Housewife Erika Jayne) to talk about private jets, dream wardrobes and getting back to nature.

Next trip? Denver, Colorado to do a show with Erika Jayne. We travel almost every weekend: Denver, Chicago, South Carolina, Dallas. It’s very common for someone in my industry to fly coach, but when we fly on Erika’s Jet, it’s a totally different experience. We get gourmet food, beautifully catered breakfasts. She treats us better than most artists.

For this trip you packed… I’m bringing my camera and my mic because I have to film a couple episodes of Shirtless Politics. I also travel with my Lululemon yoga mat, because luckily CorePower Yoga, my studio here in Los Angeles, has locations in many of the cities we travel to.

Carry-on vs checked bags? Carry-on, always. I rarely check a bag unless I absolutely have to – I just hate waiting.

Your ideal hotel has… I like boutique hotels because there’s usually a lot more character to them. The experience is so much more personal, and I feel like you’re afforded a different level of access. When you’re staying at a chain, there are all these regimented policies and rules. Boutiques have beautiful curated spaces. I do so much work when I travel, it’s important for my space to be conducive to creativity.

From the suitcase of... Taylor James, professional dancer


First thing you do after checking into a hotel… I unpack my stuff, and put it in the closet. We’re usually there for two or three days, and I hate living out of a bag. Then I light a candle that I’ve brought from home (I like Mojave from P.F. Candle Company) because I prefer my room to have a familiar smell.

Of all the people you’ve danced for, whose suitcase would you most like to raid? I only dance with female artists, so it would be a very interesting night of dress-up. But whose suitcase would I actually raid? Probably Jennifer Lopez. She travels with the most incredible clothes. I used to spend hours with her and her stylist on set, just going though all of her options.

You never leave home without… My camera. I like taking portraits of people.

If you could go anywhere new tomorrow, where would it be? I’m actually going to Greece in a couple of weeks, and I’ve wanted to go there since I was in second grade, but have never had an opportunity to go there while touring. But outside of that, Australia.

Favourite destination? I’ve gone to Hawaii twice this year, which has been amazing. I like going anywhere hot and exotic… anywhere you can spend a lot of time outdoors. I’m not really into buying souvenirs or doing touristy things. I like exploring, hiking and just experiencing nature in different parts of the world.

From the suitcase of... Taylor James, professional dancer

Photographed by Kevin Pires

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