18 Reasons Why Misty Copeland Is Winning at Life

From scoring a role in the upcoming play 'Sleeping Beauty' to her debut Broadway 'On the Town' performance and her recent engagement, we're counting the ways Misty Copeland stays winning.

Imani Brammer Aug, 28, 2015

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Copeland is nowhere near finished when it comes to making triumphant stops in on-stage major productions. Beginning in Spring 2016, Copeland will be part of the cast of Sleeping Beauty at Detroit's Detroit Opera House. Lucky for us, the ballet star will also be giving a sneak peak of the production on October 3rd, when she and ABT's Gabe Stoner will perform Sleeping Beauty's pas se deux at the Michigan Opera Theatre's annual Opera Ball Gala fund-raiser. 

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Obviously, there is nothing that Misty cannot do. The queen of ballet made her Broadway debut in On the Town this Tuesday, where she played the character Miss Turnstiles. However, if you are unable to see Misty's magic live, then the ballerina also takes you backstage on her YouTube channel with 'On the Town- Episode 1.' There, the global audience can see snippets of the Broadway show preparation as well as the elaborate costumes she dons on stage. On the Town  will continue performances at Manhattan's Lyric Theater until September 6th. Round of applause to Misty!


Copeland, who stuns in a Zimmerman dress and ballerina shoes, has the world buzzing about her cover for ESSENCE Magazine's September issue. Uzo Aduba praised the ballerina on Instagram with the caption, "Raising the barre. #ajobwelldone #essence #mistycopeland."


She told ESSENCE, "It’s easy for someone who isn’t Black or other or who has never experienced racism to dismiss what I’m saying…it’s easier for them to say, ‘Why do you focus so much on that? You’re a beautiful dancer.’ But the reason I’m here and I have this voice is because I’m Black." Copeland is a member of the advisory board of  Project Pile, an American Ballet Theater intitiative launched in September 2013, geared towards helping to increase racial and ethnic diversity amongst ballet companies across the nation. 

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Copeland revealed to ESSENCE that she is engaged to her longtime beau of 10 years, Olu Evans. Evans, who she shares an Upper West Side Manhattan apartment with, is a corporate attorney. She says of the engagement, “I can’t believe my life right now.” Congratulations, Misty!

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On June 24th, Misty Copeland made an epic debut as the leading role in Swan Lake. Playing the dual role of Odette/Odile—one of the most challenging roles in ballet—Copeland was one of only two African-Americans to perform in the renowned opera. 

Swan Lake was not something I ever saw in my future, in terms of dancing the lead. It’s just something so ingrained in the ballet culture and us as dancers that you just envision a certain type of person portraying that role,” she said. “It’s incredible to be able to be a brown swan.”

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Copeland recently made history as the first Black female principal dance of The American Ballet Theatre. 

In 2007, Copeland made history by becoming the third African-American female soloist and the first in two decades at the American Ballet Theatre.

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Copeland is the face of an inspiring campaign for Under Armour—in the clip, she gracefully danced, twirled and plied to the voice of her 13-year-old self reading a rejection letter from a ballet academy. The campaign was to prove to young girls that they can surpass the odds and live without limits. 

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Copeland says that during her off-seasons she cross-trains with Pilates, swimming and the elliptical.

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"When I retire or when I physically can't handle or endure what it takes to be a professional [ballerina], I have no idea how I'm going to find something that's going to be the same in terms of just targeting every single part of my body and bringing me joy while I'm doing it," Copeland said

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Her ballerina stance is always "on pointe," making her the "motha" of all ballerinas...

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It turns out, Prince was in need of a ballerina for his video, "Crimson and Clover" and Copeland was the perfect fit. “I was asked if Prince could have my cell number,” she says. “I was literally still waking up. ‘What? Prince who?’ ”

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In Misty Copeland's memoir, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, Copeland details her journey of becoming one of the world's groundbreaking and trailblazing ballerinas. She said that throughout a childhood of "packing, scrambling and leaving," ballet "gave my life grace and structure."

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New Line Cinema has already optioned Copeland's inspirational ballet story, adapted from her best-selling memoir, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina. 

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In A Ballerina's TaleCopeland examines her rise to becoming a phenomenal role model. The documentary covers her almost career-ending injury, themes of race and body image in the classical ballet world, as well as exclusive, never-before-seen footage of Copeland in action onstage. The feature film will be released in theaters and On-Demand on October 14.

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"I believe in surrounding myself with people who care and love me, will help to keep a clear focus for what I want to accomplish. More challenges, more hard work, I crave it!" said Copeland.

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Have you watched this video yet? #goosebumps

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No, but really...