Misty Copeland has overcome adversity and improbable odds to become one of the top ballerinas in the world. Her new book chronicles an inspiring success story that is only just beginning.
Copeland is proving her critics wrong for all the right reasons. She is appearing in her first lead role in a full-length ballet as Swanilda in "Coppelia."
So when did she realize she was an unlikely ballerina?
"When I became a professional, joining the American Ballet Theatre was the first time I realized I was an unlikely ballerina," she says. "And then of course being African American."
In her new book, "Life in Motion," she describes the road bumps on her path to success. And for the first time, she reopens old wounds.
"Starting from the beginning, my mother and her childhood that was the hardest part to talk about," she says, "sharing why certain decisions were made for me."
With the past behind her, the present has never been more exciting. She has danced her way on stage with prince and into the pages of Vogue. She has endorsements with Dr Pepper and Under Armour and may star in a documentary about her life.
She took some time away from her hectic schedule to teach me some ballet basics. And I wasn't bad. Ultimately, I'd rather just watch.
You won't find many other classical ballerinas that look like Copeland. She is one of three African-American women to ever become a soloist at ABT. But she has made it her mission to change that.
"There are no more excuses," Copeland says. "We need to make it easier for children from different backgrounds to get into a company like ABT."
Would she one day like to be considered the best ballerina not just the best black ballerina?
"I would love for the ballet world to get to the point when none of that matters and we're all just one," she says. "I've been so fortunate to have people in my lives that have given me so much grace…to keep that cycle going."
Her shoes may be small, but she's leaving a huge footprint on the ballet world, for good.
"Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina" is out Tuesday, March 4.
She will be discussing the book in person in New York City here: