Body by Michael Kors; belt (with detachable chiffon) by Maison Martin Margiela; rings by Jennifer Meyer
ballerinas can have brown skin that is frustrating. There are so many stereotypes.”
Standing out does have its advantages. “Not many dancers get the media attention that I do,” she says, “and it’s because I’m so different from the typical ballet dancer.” One of her most prominent admirers is Prince, who asked Copeland to appear in a music video in 2007. An invitation to participate in his Welcome 2 America stadium tour followed and she found herself dancing atop Prince’s piano in New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Other fans include the godfather of street-style photography, Bill Cunningham, and editor/amateur ballerina, Carine Roitfeld. The latter invited Copeland to appear in a fashion spread in the ballet-themed issue of her CR Fashion Book. The shoot was “such an amazing experience” – as was attending the AmfAR gala this year as a guest of the editor.
Copeland matches Roitfeld’s enthusiasm for ballet with her zeal
for fashion. “Right now, I’m going through a jumpsuit phase,” she says, before reeling off a list of favorite brands: Rag & Bone, Christian Louboutin, Diane von Furstenberg, Helmut Lang. And dressing for a day off? “J Brand jeans, a tank and maybe a blazer by McQueen.” There is, however, plenty of room for grand fashion flourishes, too. “I love looking at wedding gowns for galas,” she says. Alongside the McQueen and DVF pieces are trunks stuffed with leotards – “I must have hundreds”
“There’s something about being on STAGE that BRINGS me to another level. You feel like a QUEEN out there”
– with even more on the way, now that she is developing a dancewear line for women with curves.
Despite her sartorial flair, Copeland’s dedication to dance prevails. “I am still struggling. I
haven’t arrived,” she insists. She has also spent months recovering from the surgery to her shin. Though frustrated, she is keeping her sights on some of ballet’s best-loved roles. “The ultimate is Odette/Odile, the dual role of the white and black swans, from Swan Lake. To dance that role, especially as a black woman, would be huge.”
All the effort is worth it, she swears – after all, this is what she was born to do. “There’s something about being on stage and having the energy of everyone with you that brings me to another level. You feel like a queen out there,” Copeland says, recounting a list of accomplishments she couldn’t ever have fathomed. She smiles. “I am aware that my life is not normal.”
Misty’s go-to pieces
“I LOVE wedding gowns for galas.”
“I’M GOING through a jumpsuit phase.”
“FOR DOWNTIME, dressing, I like J Brand.”credits
Stylist: Sofia Catania. Art director: Jon Wetherell. Hair and makeup: Sandrine Van Slee at Art Department