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Misty Copeland’s Barbie doll is an inspiration

She didn’t let the word “no” discourage her

Misty Copeland’s journey is the ultimate example of how to overcome adversity.

Copeland, 33, made history last year when she became the first African-American woman to be named principal dancer at the world-renowned American Ballet Theatre.

Copeland sat down with Robin Roberts to announce that Mattel honored her by creating a Barbie doll in her likeness.

According to Mattel (the maker of Barbie), the ballerina was intimately involved in every detail of designing the doll. Not only did she break the mold for ballerinas, but she has taken the very things that made her different and included them in the doll.

When it comes to the Barbie phenomenon, women of color have viewed themselves as inherently different in comparison with the tall slim figure.

Copeland wanted a doll that looked like her. “She has muscles and calves and thighs,” she said.

Growing up with Barbie as a role model for some little girls sparked many experiences. For some, seeing a doll with limited looks affected their growth and self-identity. For others, it symbolized whitewashing their predominately black experience.

Copeland gets it.


Ballet star told her skin color was wrong for Swan Lake. Misty Copeland’s journey to become one of the most prolific ballerina dancers in America.

The Undefeated’s Kelley Carter and ESPN the Magazine’s Alison Overholt examine the significance of Misty Copeland’s journey to become a principal dancer.

Kelley Evans is a digital producer at Andscape. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic Southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.