Misty Copeland, the first female African-American to officially be awarded a spot within the prestigious American Ballet Theater in its 75-year history, is continuing along her path to success and notoriety.
The dancer is now inspiring other young girls by way of authoring her own books and through speaking engagements across the country.
She visited the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore this weekend to talk to her fans and supporters.
— Baltimore magazine (@Baltimoremag) August 2, 2015
Copeland has two books out now, writing her story in a memoir titled Life In Motion and a children’s book, Firebird.
— Downtown Events (@DTBaltEvents) July 31, 2015
Last year, the 32-year-old dancer was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, and even graced the cover of the issue.
Copeland will soon be filling in for the ABT’s principal dancer for two weeks, beginning on August 25, making her Broadway debut in On the Town, playing the role of Ivy Smith until September 6.
Misty Copeland’s fame and success have been a long time coming, she says, working tirelessly and fighting criticism at every turn to overcome multiple stigmas attached to ballet and pursue her dream of dancing professionally.
“I’m black. We don’t exist in the ballet world. I’m too muscular. I’m too short. My bust is too big,” Copeland told ABC News in an interview.
At 13, Copeland first began experiencing some of the devastating rejections that applying to ballet companies can afford. One of the rejection letters cited numerous reasons Copeland should give up her dream, as read in the opening of Copeland’s Under Armour “I Will What I Want” ad, a video gone viral.
“Dear Candidate, Thank you for your application to our ballet academy. You lack the right feet, Achilles tendon, turnout, torso length and bust. You have the wrong body for ballet. And at 13, you are too old to be considered.”
Misty Copeland – I WILL WHAT I WANT http://t.co/JR0chmjakU
— Adelaida Ortega Garc (@lalyog) August 2, 2015
Misty is hoping to assist in creating diversity in the world of professional ballet, starting her own program through the American Ballet Theater, Project Plié.
Copeland became dedicated to the cause after speaking with little girls being told they will never become professional dancers.
“To hear from a 7-year-old African-American girl, being told that, you know, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t be in this ballet class because you won’t have a career,'” Copeland says, is what made her want to pursue starting a program like Project Plié.
Misty expressed her desire to inspire young girls to pursue their dreams, regardless of their race or how many times they are told to give up, and not just become an “idol.”
“It’s important for me to be a real person,” the dancer says. “I am not somebody up on a pedestal. It is not about me as an individual. It is about what I represent.”
[Image via Mike Coppola/Getty Images]