Ballerina Misty Copeland is used to being a trailblazer. As the first Black woman promoted to principal dancer in the history of the American Ballet Theatre, she's helped break down some of classical ballet's most outdated (and racist) beauty ideals.

Now, she's challenging those ideals in a whole new way with her first-ever beauty campaign — and it is genuinely incredible.

Misty is now the face of Estee Lauder's Modern Muse perfume!

estee lauder misty copeland
photo: Via Estee Lauder

As a dancer who has been a muse to some of the finest performers the world has ever known, from Broadway stars to Prince (R.I.P.), this could not be more perfect.

In a press release, Copeland said, "My two passions are dance and giving back, and I love passing on knowledge to the next generation. I also have a strong connection to the scents I wear when I perform."

"The journey I've been on is my own. I've pushed boundaries, and challenged the status quo," Misty said in a promotional video for Modern Muse. "I can only hope that my life inspires other women to change the world in their own way."

In a letter written to her 13-year old self on Glamour, Misty said, "It’ll be a long journey to discovering and accepting who you are, to knowing that different can be beautiful. But trust that you will eventually discover beauty in your own terms."

Misty, who struggled being a woman of color in the very white world of ballet, knows firsthand how much representation matters. "There will be many times when you'll feel like you don’t belong, times when you will be the only black person in the room or in your own dance company (for ten years, actually)."

"In the classical ballet world, which is so centered around aesthetics [...] it can be debilitating when you don’t fit the mold (white, willowy, flat-chested)," Misty wrote on Glamour. "Know that you don’t need to look like every other ballerina that’s come before you. Brown skin is beautiful. If only you had more examples of success through people who looked like you... For now, you will have to dream beyond what you’ve ever seen."

"It matters that women and girls see themselves represented in every hue and every shape, with different careers and different paths. You’re going to do that for people. That is a huge deal!"

misty copeland estee lauder
photo: Misty Copeland / Instagram



The ballet world — like the beauty world — needs diverse, dynamic women like Copeland to push the industry forward, and show young people that anything is possible.

Misty's Estee Lauder fragrance campaign officially debuts in August 2017, but you can follow her on Instagram for more behind-the-scenes peeks at what it takes to be a Modern Muse.