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What ‘WAP’ Choreographer JaQuel Knight Can’t Live Without

Photo-Illustration: Seye Isikalu

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hairspray and the electric toothbrush. We asked JaQuel Knight — the choreographer behind Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” music video (and other performances by the likes of Beyoncé and Shakira) — about the video camera, moisturizer, and water bottle he can’t live without.

This is my secret. I generally do not share it because I don’t want it to become too popular and hard to find. My mom actually got me into the product ages ago; she has taken cosmetology classes, and I learn about a lot of great stuff from her. She sends me different beauty packages with cleansers, facial wipes, toners, and all that stuff because she knows I’m sweating a lot, and she wants me to have good skin. She’s my queen. This helps me get a nice natural glow and it’s also good for repairing any dry areas. It breathes new life into the skin. I’ll wash my face, apply this, and then wake up with my skin literally feeling and looking like a million bucks.

The DJI Osmo is one of my favorite products. I own a lot of different cameras — I’m kind of a tech geek — but I probably use this one the most. It’s so tiny. Every time I pull it out, people are like, “What is that? No way it’s a camera.” I use it to capture footage for reference videos. It allows me to capture everything in perfect quality: The head rotates 360 degrees, and can flip it as well, so if I want to film myself, I can. It’s super seamless. It also keeps a charge for a couple of weeks. I take it everywhere with me because it’s easy to just throw in a pocket.

This is another product I got from Mama Knight — shoutout to her. I fill it up before I go to bed, and when I wake up, my water is still nice and cool. I drink a lot of water — I say it’s my favorite drink. It’s really important to stay hydrated when I’m dancing or moving around on set, but also even when I’m just at my computer for a long time. I go through anywhere from five to seven refills a day. It’s spill-proof: I can knock it over, and I don’t have to worry about water getting everywhere. I have a few of them — for the car, for traveling, for my house — but all of them are black and silver.

My computer is an extension of my brain. Everything is on here: all things creative, my notes, my emails. People often say, “JaQuel is a one-stop shop” because I choreograph, produce, and edit. I edit music and sync it all together, too, so my Mac is really important, especially when I’m putting together decks or plans or reference videos. Let’s say I’m working with Cardi B or Megan Thee Stallion on a project: I would get some dancers and show them the choreography plan — we’ll produce it and send it to their teams. In order to do that, I need to edit a video on my computer. Shout out to Adobe Creative Suite; it gets a huge honorable mention here because it has all the tools I need to succeed.

People naturally assume that choreographers are in shape. But I’m not moving as much as I would like to. I have to actually work out to keep up with my physically demanding job. I like to run and this Sweet Sweat helps push my metabolism. It’s kind of like a cream that you apply — I tried it out after seeing a lot of fitness influencers and trainers on Instagram using it. It helps me sweat more and makes me feel like I’m doing the most I can with my workouts. I equate working hard with the amount of sweat I release — the harder I work, the more I should be sweating. The Sweet Sweat also helps with muscle fatigue, so I use it on my back, my arms, and my thighs. With the work I do, my thighs and lower back are often engaged throughout the day, so this helps keep everything relaxed before and after a workout.

Beats has really grown over the years. The brand has always been pretty good, but now the sound is absolutely amazing. The headphones connect easily to your phone, like, as soon as you open the headphones and put them on, they instantly connect. They’re super durable: I can fold them up, pop them in a bag, get on a plane, pull them out, and put them on. They’re noise-canceling, too. I wear them when I run, and I can’t hear anything. They also don’t fall off, and the sound, again, is really good. I’m a sucker for how things sound, and the levels on these are great. Usually the bass is what gets lost in headphones — it’s all mids and highs — but the bass on these is really nice and full. I’m often listening to music that has a lot of 808s and bass drums and percussion, and these really amplify those sounds.

Dry lips make me cringe. I hate the way they feel. When I’m talking to someone with dry lips, all I can do is look at them — it’s the worst. Because I sweat a lot, my lips are often the first thing to dry out, so I keep a stash of this balm everywhere. I have one in my bag, one in my car, one in my fanny pack. Sometimes I throw extras in my bag, too, just in case I lose one. The cooling mint feels nice and I think it works really well.

This charcoal mask really gets in there to cleanse all the dead skin and gunk and sweat and stuff that piles up on my face. I use it once or twice a week. I’m on camera a lot, whether for behind-the-scenes things or just my social-media feeds, and people can tell when my skin isn’t looking good. Full disclosure, the founder of Buttah, Dorion Renaud, is a friend of mine. But he makes some truly wonderful products, especially for Black people and brown-skinned people like myself.

Before the pandemic, I traveled all the time. I spent two months in Barcelona, then I spent the holidays in South Africa, then I went straight to Miami to prep for the Super Bowl, then I went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans to do some casting, then I finally went back home to L.A. I like that this brand is international — if I’m not home and the handle breaks or a wheel gets loose, I’m able to have it fixed wherever I am in the world. I found the brand while looking for some new luggage. I’m that guy who goes into the store and literally asks a million questions before I walk out with anything. Briggs & Riley came highly recommended and the brand has a lifetime warranty — that was a big selling point for me. I prefer the carry-on size. It’s expandable and super spacious. Usually the zippers give out on you right away, but these don’t break no matter how much I overpack. My friends always laugh at me because I pack my suitcase to the brim and they tell me it won’t zip. But I say, “Watch me.”

I often look at the work a brand does beyond its products — like what it does to help the world. Select has been instrumental in helping me kick off the JaQuel Knight Foundation’s Dancer Relief Fund, which provides financial assistance via grants to dancers who were affected by the pandemic. Select helped with the first round of our fundraising by matching every dollar up to $10,000. It was incredible. But the company also makes great products. These drops are all natural and organic — for a CBD product, I feel like I’m getting the highest-quality option.

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What ‘WAP’ Choreographer JaQuel Knight Can’t Live Without