Misty Copeland On Being ABT's First Black Principal Ballerina

It's been quite a year for ballet sensation Misty Copeland, who was promoted this summer in a history-making new role as principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre.

Eloquent and outspoken, Copeland has always talked about her success and hurdles along the way, especially on topics like body image and racism in the ballet world.

Now, on the cusp of an amazing cover shoot with Essence magazine and her engagement to her longtime beau, Copeland penned a brief op-ed for The Huffington Post  to express her gratitude for this exciting time in her life and career.

Read excerpts from the interview below.

On working her way to the top as a brown ballerina:
"As a brown woman growing up in the ballet world, it is easy to not allow yourself to dream of becoming the ballerina, the Swan. Something as subtle (or not so subtle) as a lack of representation can sit so deeply in your subconscious that you can't allow yourself to even consider the possibility. That is why when I was given this opportunity, I tried to cherish and enjoy every second of the entire process.”

On being promoted to the rank of principal dancer:
"I can't put it into words. I felt removed from my body, as it was happening. I was watching Raven Wilkinson, Janet Collins, Delores Brown, Lauren Anderson, Debra Austin, Nora Kimball, Anne Benna Sims, Stephanie Dabney, and every woman who created this path for me. I was watching all the little brown girls who will come after me.”

On how she hopes to influence the next generation:
"When I see a crowd or audience full of little brown faces, watching me and seeing the possibilities, I can't help but think, "wow, there's hope" — not only for ballet, but for the next generation to truly believe in their dreams and be empowered to reach for them."

On what her future holds:
"It still hasn't hit me. I'm living my dream and I look forward to continuing to work hard towards becoming a better, stronger dancer."

On how she hopes her legacy will change the conversation:
"Now that we're here, my hope is that in time, this won't be such a rare achievement, and my reviews and mentions in the media will refer to me simply as a "ballerina," because that's what I am."

Read the full interview here.

Watch Copeland's MAKERS video above and learn about her inspiring journey to ballet stardom here.

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Photo Credit: Carolyn Cole via Getty Images