Some of you may have seen a recent commercial for Under Armour's "I Will What I Want" campaign. It stars Misty Copeland, the first African American soloist with the American Ballet Theatre in over two decades. Those of you tuning in to the current season of "So You Think You Can Dance" may have also seen her on the judging panel. The commercial features Misty showing off some impressive leg muscle and gravity-defying leaps, all while the voice of a young girl reads selections from various rejection letters Misty has received over the years.
Misty attended her first ballet class at the age of 13. Wearing oversized gym shorts, socks and a t-shirt, she nervously placed her hand on the barre for the first time in the gymnasium at the local Boys and Girls' Club. While talented, she was told that she was too old to master the technique. Her body was the wrong shape. She didn't have enough turnout. She wasn't made for ballet.
She didn't care.
Nearly 20 years later, Misty Copeland is one of the most celebrated and sought-after ballet dancers in the industry and has captivated audiences around the globe. Her philosophy is simple - know what you want and go for it. Of course, she says it best herself:
"Those days that you're feeling down on yourself and your body hurts, it's important to remember that if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will either."
For more about Misty and her story, check out her official website or her inspiring biography, "Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina."