Misty Copeland: From Homeless to Famed Ballerina

By: Pam Wright - April 6, 2014

The beyond beautiful ballet star Misty Copeland defies physics when she dances and is making a name for herself not only in the cut-throat ballet world, but in leading the way for other young African-American ballet dancers.

Copeland had very little while growing up in the Los Angeles area with her siblings and single mother.

“We were pretty much homeless and were living in a motel, trying to scrape up enough money to go to the corner store to get [a] cup a noodle soup to eat,” Copeland said. “It was probably the worst time in my childhood when ballet found me.”

Fate stepped in when she was 13 while visiting a Boys and Girls Club. It was there that she caught the attention of ballet teacher Cindy Bradley who persuaded her to pursue formal ballet training.

“I had no real direction, no real motivation to become anything,” Copeland said in an ABCNews Interview. “Having someone believe in me is why I think I dove into it,” Copeland said.

But, it wasn’t an easy world to break into for the young African-American woman.

“It’s really hard. The classical ballet world is so far behind,” said Copeland. “When it comes to classical ballet, you just don’t see it. People don’t want to break this tradition of what they think is the ideal image of a ballerina.”

For a decade, Copeland was the only African-American dancer in the prestigious American Ballet Theater.

In 2007, she became the third African-American female soloist with the dance company.

And her ultimate dream has yet to be realized — becoming the first African-American principal ballerina there.

Copeland has not forgotten where she came from and how far she has risen.

“It’s crazy, Copeland said, “but then I have to remember all the hard work that went into those years to get here. I do often think of that.”

Image via YouTube

About the Author

Pam WrightPam Wright is a multimedia journalist for a Kentucky newspaper and WebProNews contract writer. She is Mom to five and Grams to two (and a half). She loves God, her family, photography, traveling, singing, running and scuba diving. Follow Pam on Twitter @pamwrightAMNews and on Facebook @pam.wright.90281943 and at

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  • The Truth

    She is beauty personified..A true true beauty..

  • mazzie54az

    she looks like an amazing dance…however I really don’t want to see photos of her butt. Put some more clothes on …you don’t need to expose yourself to prove the the world that you can dance.!!

    • mars220

      Umm… Where is she showing too much skin ? Looks normal to me

  • amy

    My daughter and I have been lucky enough to see her dance many times! She is wonderful!