“Thank you for your application to our ballet company. Unfortunately, you will not be accepted. You lack the right feet, achilles tendons, turn out, torso length, and bust. You have the wrong body for ballet. And at 13, you are too old to be considered.”
Misty Copeland, the woman in the new Under Armour 'I Will What I Want' ad, told me was a list of reasons why she would never succeed as a ballerina. Today, well look at her. I was fortunate enough to sit down one-on-one with the first African-American soloist in two decades for the American Theater Ballet Company. Here's what she had to say...
I was literally pushed into it. I didn’t know anything about [ballet]. So there was no drive or real focal point really. I took my first ballet class at a boys and girls club on a basketball court and I was pushed into taking it. I took it at the late age of 13 and then to achieve being a member of one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world in only four years of training I think just says something about the determination that was so innate that just speaks to the I Will What I Want campaign.
What is it that you love most about ballet?
It’s athletic, artistic, I think it’s an art and a sport. I think we need to come up with a new word for that. We’re more than just an athlete and more than just an artist. And what it takes to be the whole package and be all these things and these very elite small percentage of people that makes it to these top companies it takes a ton of perseverance and determination and dedication.
If you weren’t doing ballet, what is it you think you would doing with your life/career?
I would be athletic. I’d be Fashion. I don’t know. I would be doing something that got me moving. I think that’s what I was meant to do. From the time I was like seven, I had like massive calf muscles and thighs even though I did nothing physical. So I think I was meant to do something physical.
Did you ever play other sports?
I played basketball for fun with my brothers when I was growing up. There was three boys in my family. But I never played in leagues or anything that was structured. I’m really drawn to basketball. I can’t wait to meet Steph Curry who’s now also Under Armour athlete, who plays for the Golden State Warriors. Hopefully I get a one-on-one with him.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Oooh shoes. When it comes to food though? Cupcakes.
What’s your favorite pair of shoes?
Right now I have a pair of Saint Laurent's that are like hot pink platform. But that’s not my typical. Like I have so many Christian Louboutins. The very classic ones simple nude, black, pointy toe.
Misty Copeland was phenomenal in person and such an inspiration. Check out her video and I promise you'll be inspired, too.