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Misty Copeland is the third African-American woman to ever achieve the rank of soloist in the American Ballet Theater company’s history, the first ever ballerina to be endorsed by the fitness clothing company Under Armour, has danced for the likes of Prince and other music royalty and now, with the release of her memoir, Life in Motion, she’s also an author.

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But it wasn’t always glitz and glamour for the ballerina. There were so many who told her “no” or tried to derail her from her passion. Some even said that her attributes, being “curvy AND Black” would go against her in the world of ballet. That led to being unsure about herself and her body.

“Being a woman in general it’s hard to be completely comfortable and confident with how you look,” explained Copeland. “Especially in an art form like this when it is about your physicality and what you look like. It’s difficult being critiqued and judged on that basis.”

RELATED: Khandi Alexander Shows How To Get A Dancer’s Body

But it wasn’t until she accepted who she was as a woman, a Black woman, that allowed her to go to new heights.

Misty Copeland: Breaking Barriers, One Move At A Time  was originally published on blackdoctor.org

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