Photo: Gregg Delman
You may have spotted Misty Copeland striking a fierce pose in your favorite fashion glossies, but that’s just the tip of this extraordinary woman’s talents. The American Ballet Theatre ballerina is one of the most lauded dancers of our generation. She is the third African-American soloist in the theater company’s history, and the first in two decades. Now Misty is treating fans to a stunning 2013 calendar, shot by photographer Gregg Delman. We caught up with Misty, and she dished on the inspiration behind the calendar, getting the call to dance on Prince’s tour and her upcoming activewear line. Get to know this brilliant superwoman!
StyleBlazer: Your 2013 calendar is gorgeous! Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind it.
Misty Copeland: I get so many requests from people who want pictures, posters, and things like that. And it’s really difficult when you’re part of a professional company like American Ballet Theater, to really branch out and do things on your own. I’ve worked with [photographer] Gregg Delman before, and I think that he understands me and [how to] put my picture out there in a not so classical way. It’s more about the artistry. I feel like people expect when they hear a ballerina’s doing a calendar, that the appeal is going to be from 7 to 13 years old. It has a broader appeal. And I think naturally because of the way I’m built and the way that I photograph that [people say] it’s too sensual. I always say that maybe they should get out to more ballets because so many of the stories have a very ethnic sensual feel about them. If you look at ballets like La Bayadère, you’re in a midriff top and the movement is very sensual. These are classic ballets, so it’s not all sugar plum fairies and Black Swan. Even though Black Swan is very sensual as well. I think that a lot of my fan base are not just classical dancers, but people who are starting to become more interested in dance and seeing someone who’s Black in this field I think is broadening it as well.
SB: Are your fashion shots reflective of your personal style?
MC: Somewhat. A lot of the fashion shoots that I do, I’m not the one dressing myself [laughs]. A lot of the time I think it’s a little more over the top than what I normally would do. I like to take fashion risks here and there, but overall I like just kind of clean and classic looks. Being a dancer I’m always aware of my line and trying not to break that line. There are just certain things I try to avoid, especially being 5’2″. If I am going to wear a shoe with color, I would avoid an ankle strap, because that would completely cut the line of my leg. But if I do kind of venture out, it’s usually with an accessory. It’s usually with a shoe, a hot pink fringe, and everything else is really simple, or with a jacket. But I like to keep things simple and classic.
SB: What’s harder to walk in: pointe shoes or heels?
MC: Definitely heels! Even though I’m definitely at home with heels. Pointe shoes, that’s nothing for me. I tend to be more clumsy when I’m off the stage.