Back in February 2012, the 32-year-old dancer told Teen Vogue that after she was promoted to American Ballet Theatre's corps de ballet at 19, she had her first period, gained 10 pounds, and her "breasts became full and voluptuous." Soon, the wardrobe department had to let out a seam here and there so her chest could fit in costumes. "I was bewildered and embarrassed—I could feel my confidence start to slip away," she said.
At five feet two and just over one hundred pounds, Misty was told she needed to "lengthen," – a more "polite" way to say lose some weight and fast. But, she soon she realized she could make her talent outshine what anyone had to say about her body. "My backup plan was to out dance everyone, to be so technically perfect and unbelievably lyrical in my movements that all anyone would be able to see was my talent, not my breasts or curves or the color of my skin," she continued. And it worked. ABT's artistic staff eventually stopped asking her to slim down.
Misty still deals with body shaming from time to time, but, she takes it on with a positive attitude. She recently opened up about how she deals with body shamers today, telling Heart and Soul in enlightening interview "Aint I a Dancer?," "Whenever they say [my] race does not have the right body type, it just sounds so crazy and ignorant."
"Every race has varying body types, but I think it's possible to take a body— and I've seen this happen—a body that people say is not built for ballet, and shape it by taking ballet classes," she continued. "That's what it's there for—to shape and mold your muscles! That's what I've done. I've done my best to fit into what my body is capable of, and what makes sense for my body to fit into the ballet world."
Misty's attitude about her body and how others should view theirs is applause-worthy. She not only inspires us with the way she empowers women, but, also with her own accomplishments. The ballet prodigy, who landed on Time's list of 100 influential people, will make history when she becomes the first ballerina to star as Odette and Odile in Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake with the ABT in the U.S. June 16.
She is killing it in the dance industry (and beyond) on her own terms. And we love it.