Interview by Lori Bizzoco. Written by Mackenzie Scibetta.

Born and raised on Long Island by parents who were trained dancers, So You Think You Can Dance finalist Megan “Megz” Alfonso was bred for a life on stage. Known for her extravagant sneaker collection (378 and counting), Alfonso brought a unique edge to the hit reality TV show with her bold and upbeat hip-hop routines. In our celebrity interview, Alfonso told us about the determination it took to become a finalist, which started ten years ago when she auditioned for the first time and faced rejection. Determined to break celebrity news headlines with her SYTYCD performances, she remarkably auditioned for the show three more times before she was able to prove to the world that she had what it took to make it.

Cupid’s Pulse Executive Editor, Lori Bizzoco, had the privilege of getting to know Megz over the past two years while she was a dance instructor for her daughter at Oceanside Dance Center on Long Island. “Megz was an amazing mentor to my young daughter,” Bizzoco said. “You could see that she really liked working with kids, always giving them encouragement and helping to build their confidence.”

The top 10 finalists are currently performing on tour and this month Alfonso will be making three of those tour stops in her native New York State with Huntington, Long Island being her hometown show Saturday, November 7th. The other two New York tour stops will include Brooklyn on November 10th and Buffalo on November 20th.

In our exclusive celebrity interview, Alfonso gives us the inside scoop on the show, her expectations for her Long Island homecoming tour and her ultimate goals for the future.

Long Island Star Reveals Her Struggle To Make It To The SYTYCD Finals in Our Celebrity Interview

What’s the difference between the work you do on the tour and the work you did on the show?

The only difference was that there was so much more pressure to be on TV. I was being judged and didn’t want to let anyone down. On the tour, we can work on our routine and make it better and better each time.

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Can you tell us about your journey through SYTYCD?

I was around 18 years old when I first auditioned and I was just going for the experience. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it through. The year after that, in season 2, I made it all the way to Vegas but didn’t make it any further. After that, I took a two year break to work on myself to keep training and practicing. On Season 5, I auditioned again to see how I improved but I got cut again. I decided I needed a longer break to figure out who I was as a person and took time to tour with my company. When I auditioned for this season, they were more open to different looks and new styles so I think they saw something exciting in me, finally. I auditioned four times before I made it.

Did you feel like this was your year?

Yes, even before I auditioned I was saying to myself that I’ll give it a shot and just see what happens. When I made it straight to Vegas I was so excited. I knew that I needed to push myself. This season, I never stopped training myself no matter what. I wanted to send a message to everyone that your dreams are always a possibility.

You’re a dance teacher to many students. What is it about teaching dance and working with students that you enjoy most?

I love kids because they’re just experiencing everything and are just trying to find who they are as a person. They’re like sponges trying to take in everything and their smiles show it. When they start to realize they’re drawn to something it’s exciting to watch how hungry they are for it. I want to teach them how to find themselves as a person and to grow from their style, not just as dancers but as people.

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What does it mean to be a finalist on tour?

I’m just hoping for my two favorite goals to be accomplished: being a Justin Timberlake dancer and Janet Jackson dancer. I’m also excited to go on tour to explore new areas, especially Canada since I’ve never been there. I love learning about new cultures.

Do you have any tips for future contestants?

Don’t be afraid of who you are and don’t let anyone change who you are. You want to show everyone the true love and worth of yourself.

We are a relationship site, so we need to ask: are you currently in a relationship with anyone? And how does that fall into the mix of your busy schedule?

Yes, I am currently in a relationship. I think as long as that person supports what you do and you support them, then you’ll be okay. They need to know that you love doing what you do.

Keep up with Megz on Twitter @MegzAlfonso and www.instagram.com/megzalfonso/! You can catch one of the SYTYCD tours by checking out the tour dates here!