Misty Copeland’s voice carries volumes. As the first African-American female principal dancer for the American Ballet Theater, Misty has repeatedly defied odds in the face of the traditional and competitive dance norms—all with grace, power, and perspective. Apart from ballet, one of Misty’s biggest passions is giving back—especially when it comes to health, education, and opportunity for youth of color and underserved communities.
mbg caught up with the prima ballerina at the launch event for Naked's new Fruit, Nut & Veggie Bar to talk about her wellness philosophy, body diversity, and her favorite snacks. Read on to glean more insight from the practices that keep Copeland ready and fueled.
She uses her platform to promote inclusion.
Copeland believes that using her platform to address self-acceptance and representation, specifically for women and people of color, is vital for enacting change. "It’s important for me to have a platform and speak so openly about being healthy, strong, and an individual," she told mbg. The dancer, whose petite and athletic physique makes her an anomaly in the ballet world, speaks candidly about her struggles with weight and understands wellness is a journey. She hopes to change the status quo of what’s viewed as a "ballerina body"—also the title of her second book, which debuted in 2017.
She practices meditation to stay grounded.
So what does meditation look like for someone who moves for a living? "I think it’s important for people to find something that grounds them and balances them out throughout the day," says Misty, who cites the ritual of a ballet class as her form of meditation. "It keeps my mind focused and set for the day, especially when everything can be chaotic."
She eats fruits and veggies to fuel her body.
Launched into the professional dance world at a young age, Copeland had little guidance on even the basics of nutrition and fueling herself in the right way, which left Misty confused about healthy food choices. Now she aims for foods that keep her "energized and light but not full." She feels her best when she sticks to a pescatarian diet and credits snacks like dried fruit, vegetables, and nuts among her favorites. As an ambassador for the new Naked Fruit, Nut & Veggie bars, Copeland expressed enthusiasm for the snack's holistic ingredients. "Just to see the fresh ingredients in the new Naked Fruit, Nut & Veggie bars is super exciting. It’s a bar that has everything I need in one place—and with kale!”
She shares her wellness knowledge with all.
For Misty, spreading the word about the importance of health and wellness is vital when talking about access. She recognizes that wellness is a lifestyle choice, but for some, there’s not always a choice because of lack of knowledge, education, and resources. "It’s so important to educate our communities who don’t have access to information on how to eat properly—and how wellness affects our lives in a 360-degree way," says Copeland, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama to his Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.
Body hero for many and wellness champion for all, Misty Copeland's journey is refreshing and a real-life testament to the possibility wellness has to enact change beyond just self-care routines and superfood smoothies—though we love those, too.
Hungry to know more about the wellness rituals of spotlighted women? Here’s how Meghan Markle views the role of fitness in her life.