It’s a common misconception that every little girl dreams of being a prima ballerina. That certainly wasn’t the case for the Misty Copeland, as we learn in her new feature on Into the Gloss. Copeland, the first black soloist at the American Ballet Theater, didn’t even start dancing until she was 13 years old, which is pretty late in the ballet world. Growing up in California she tells ITG that she didn’t even really know what being a professional dancer was.
Fast forward a few years later, and she joined ABT in New York City after just six years of formal training–a feat almost unheard of in the ballet community. Is that preternatural talent or what? Talent, passion, and drive actually. Copeland told ITG, “Finding ballet gave me passion for the first time in my life. … My mission became to bring dance to the modern generation.”
And so she became a role model to young dancers everywhere, unexpectedly. “I never dreamed of being promoted to a soloist—or being a role model—but I started to get such positive feedback from the black community… I felt like I was representing them in the ballet world, ” she said.
From the outside Copeland was a strong symbol for the black community, but that didn’t leave her any less alone in the company. “In 2001, I was the only black woman in a company of 80 dancers. I had never thought about that growing up, but I suddenly felt very rare and started worrying, ‘Am I going to make it?’ There had never been a black woman who was also a principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre.” Obviously, she’s made it and then some–she just recently signed on to represent Under Armor, proving that ballet dancers are indeed legitimate athletes (a point often in contention until you watch a documentary or two and see how much hard work goes into dancing). Copeland also recently released a memoir, Life in Motion, which you can find here.
But Into the Gloss is ultimately a beauty site, and Copeland goes into great detail about her beauty routine, which is pretty laid back actually–she wears so much makeup on stage that she tends to keep her daily routine to a minimum. She dishes on using Proactiv, Polo Ralph Lauren for men as her signature fragrance, and more.
For the full interview and Copeland’s full lineup of beauty products, head over to Into the Gloss here.