Creativity 50 2015

Creativity 50 2015: Misty Copeland

Dancer

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Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland Credit: Ennis/Crain's New York Business
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At the start of 2015, Misty Copeland had already won hearts for her standout performances around the world in ballets such as "Swan Lake" and "Romeo and Juliet." She had also starred in the first ad of Under Armour and Droga5's much-lauded "I Will What I Want" campaign, aimed at empowering female athletes. The spot saw her twirling on her incredible, muscular legs as a voice-over read out a ballet-school rejection letter saying she was too old at 13 and had the wrong physique. It quickly went viral and today has more than 9 million views on YouTube alone.

In June, Ms. Copeland achieved her dream when she became the first African-American woman in the 75-year history of the American Ballet Theatre to be named principal dancer. "I had moments of doubting myself, and wanting to quit, because I didn't know that there would be a future for an African-American woman to make it to this level," she said during a news conference after her promotion, as reported in The New York Times. "At the same time, it made me so hungry to push through, to carry the next generation."

Previously, Ms. Copeland had already appeared in ads for the likes of T-Mobile and Dr Pepper; she's now likely to be even more in demand. And if that weren't enough, she has been cited as an inspiration by the likes of Beyoncé and President Barack Obama.