As the first black ballerina to dance in Swan Lake, Misty Copeland is shaping the world of dance, and her story in inspiring.

Raised in poverty, Misty discovered dance aged 13 and found solace in the art form. She joined the American Ballet Company in 2007 and became the third-ever black soloist in 2007.

But racism is still prevalent, she noted in an interview with ‘People make comments. For some people, I don’t look like a ballerina,’ she said. ‘Opportunities for black dancers are improving,’ she said. ‘I do see a change and as much criticism as I get for talking about it as much as I do, I think it’s forcing people to make changes.’

Famous for her TV advert with Under Armour that articulated the ballerina’s beautiful calves and muscular arms, Misty wowed audiences at the Kennedy Center this past Saturday in Swan Lake and she hopes to inspire more to follow their dreams despite the challenges. ‘It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to be unique, you can set your own path,’ she said.