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Alique for Glamour

The story of ballerina Michaela DePrince, is one that everyone should know…

In a recent issue of Glamour, we were introduced to DePrince, a 20-year-old rising star with the Dutch National Ballet, whose life story, adapted from her memoir Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina described her staggering journey to the top, overcoming being called a “devil child” and her parents passing.

“But I guess I was a little sassy,” she recalls. “Whenever people called me things, I would say, ‘I don’t care. I’m going to be someone.”

According to her tell all, the professional ballerina’s father was murdered in the civil war and her mother died from fever. As a child, DePrince was told that due to her vitiligo, she was too ugly for adoption. That all changed one day, when she says she was outside of her orphanage when a magazine literally blew into her face… on the cover, a ballerina. “The dancer looked beautiful and happy—that’s what caught my eye. I wanted to be happy.”

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It was DePrince’s spunky personality, that landed her in the arms of a new mother, Elaine DePrince, alongside 10 brothers and sisters, 9 of whom were adopted as well.

Elaine helped cultivate Michaela’s talent and even spent hours dyeing and altering her ballet costumes so that they fit her skin tone. Michaela adds, “When I look back at all the things I’ve been through and everything I’ve accomplished…I realize, Wow, I am very blessed.”

For more highlights from DePrince’s interview, keep scrolling:

On her adoptive family: There was so much love right away. I had never been surrounded by something like that.

On nabbing roles “I put up a front that I was fine with being the only black girl or not getting a role…But it was very difficult.”

A former French prima ballerina Magali Messac, commented on Michaela: Michaela’s story—the magic of it, but equally the hard work and belief in her dream—is remarkable. She will inspire other young girls to dream high and believe in themselves.”