In 2002, Lady Marmalade won Mya a Grammy Award. She has also won 26 other awards and been nominated for 67 others. In 2009, she emerged second place on Dancing With The Stars.
During her childhood, Mýa sometimes had to endure insensitive comments about her ethnic background, but her accomplishments as a dancer helped her make the transition into adolescence and deal with its peer pressure. As she explained in an appearance on Canada’s Much Music television show in January 2001:
There was a time in my life when I wasn’t popular and accepted by kids in school. I was made fun of with braces and kinky hair, and being from a multicultural family, etcetera … And it really hurts when you’re that age, but later when you get something of your own or you get involved in activities like a sport, you begin to be accepted for what you do, and your personality and who you are, instead of your clothes and how you look and the name designer brands you have on.
As a popular performer, Mya would later draw from her experiences to speak to girls’ groups as part of the Secret of Self-Esteem program for adolescents, addressing issues such as body image, peer pressure, and gender stereotypes. Learning steps from music videos landed her a stint from 1996 until 1998 as a hip-hop dancer for BET’s “Teen Summit”. She also began teaching a children’s hip-hop and jazz dance class in Camp Springs.
By age 15, Mýa’s musical side took over and her professional-musician father helped her perfect her vocal abilities. When he realized that his daughter was serious about a career in music, Mýa’s father began shopping around with her demo tape, eventually catching the interest of University Music president and CEO Haqq Islam. After graduating from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland at 16, Mýa took a few classes at the University of Maryland, College Park, but the teenager’s primary focus was on the recording studio.