Misty Copeland talks redefining stereotypes and her 'cheat day' diet

Misty Copeland has been breaking barriers both on and off the stage.

As the first African American female principal ballet dancer in the American Ballet Theatre, Copeland had to learn how to fight against stereotypes, especially in the dancing world. She wrote about her redefining of the "ideal" ballerina and overcoming these stereotypes in her 2014 book Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina.

"My life was very chaotic as a child. It didn't become still, in my mind, until I discovered ballet. And at the same time, I was very unique in that I was a black woman -- the only black woman in American Ballet Theatre for a decade -- so that's where the 'Unlikely Ballerina' part comes from," explained Copeland to AOL Lifestyle. 

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My two summers spent at ABT’s Summer Intensive were the most informative of my training. It is one of the only programs I have experienced that gave me true insight into what it is to be held responsible for my craft in preparation for becoming a professional. To be surrounded by dancers from all over the world and to be taught by some of my own idols, as well as ballets biggest influences, was invaluable to my training there. The summer is a perfect entry point on your ABT trajectory! Link in profile
#Repost @miaalegriapaxton ・・・ Misty Copeland Herman Cornejo in Sir Kenneth MacMillan ‘s “ Romeo and Juliet “ ABT in Detroit Opera House #abt #ballet #romeoandjuliet #misty #mistycopeland #detroit #detroitoperahouse #hermancornejo
#Repost @underarmourca ・・・ Stretches on "POINTE"📍😉. #UnlikeAny #IWILL
#Repost @greggdelmanphoto ・・・ @mistyonpointe #ballet #beautiful #mistycopeland
#Repost @dannijo ・・・ Excited to announce our two winners who will be joining me for my interview with @mistyonpointe this coming Monday in #nyc 🎟 Our winners are @ali_lovesnyc and @lazeez90 - their questions will be asked also: “What has been the most difficult thing Misty has had to go through and overcome?” And “What are your favorite exercises for cross training; how do you stay fit during off season, and how do you prevent injury?” We’ll DM the winners with details. Please comment below and let us know if there are any other questions you have for Misty 💕 #mistycopeland #ballerinabody #boxerina #dannijogirls #fitspo #ballerina photo by @markseliger
#Repost @vanityfair ・・・ Simply stunning. #VFMood courtesy of the barrier-breaking ballerina (and #Nutcracker star) Misty Copeland. Photograph by @patrickfraserstudio.
#Repost @jaytee153 ・・・ Standing ovation from a sold out theater after a jaw dropping performance from @mistyonpointe @daniil #mistycopeland #thenutcracker #ballet #datenight @abtofficial
#Repost @abtofficial ・・・ Who has their Nutcracker tickets?! Last two days in the studio; see you soon OC!! ✨☀️ Link to purchase in bio!
#Repost @dannijo ・・・ 🎟💕👄Dirty Dancing👄💕🎟 This #wcw we’re honored to announce that Danielle will be interviewing our dear friend and #womancrush @mistyonpointe for a second time — this time about her latest book #BallerinaBody on Monday, Jan 8 at 7pm. Comment below with a question for Misty and our favorite two questions will be asked during the interview and the lucky two will be our guests at Monday’s interview in #nyc. We’ll announce the winners on Friday at noon EST. *must be 21yrs + to be eligible | You can watch our last interview with Misty for @harpersbazaarusby clicking through our instastory 🤳 Photo by @greggdelmanphoto #mistycopeland #boxerina #fitspo #bodygoals #ballerina #bodyinspo #wellness #goals
#Repost @daniil ・・・ And here’s the how-to for the previous post, haha. Don’t try this at home, kids... with @mistyonpointe! Video by @skylarbrandt
#Repost @lifenautjoe ・・・ @mistyonpointe & @alexhammoudi at @soulartsproductions expresiones • #expresiones #ballet #show #theater #dancer #dancers #balletdancer #art #culture #mexico #photography #stagephotography #nikon #nikor #teatro #danza #bailarin #arte #cultura #baile #mistycopeland
#Repost @reneegarnes ・・・ The beauty of #primaballerina @mistyonpointe! Shot by famous photographer @marcbaptiste007, styled by the wonderful @kahlihaslam, hair by the fabulous @jefffrancishair & 💄#makeupbyreneeg All makeup used by @narsissist & @lauramercier. #historymaker #legend #primaballerina #dancer #beauty #celebrity #celebrityglam #follow4follow #nextartists #I❤️MyJob
#Repost @nubarre ・・・ @mistyonpointe is our Saturday motivation "It's great to find something pure to you in this crazy world, everyone should find that" Take a moment for yourself 🙏✨Tone & Lengthen at the barre ✨#nubarre #barre #barrelaval #pulse #tone #lengthen #saturdaymotivation #saturdayworkout #barrebabes #breathe #mindfulness #fit #fitfam #laval #mistycopeland @mistyonpointe 📸@greggdelmanphoto
I teamed up with @esteelauder and @glamourmag to lead a class inspired by my book, “Ballerina Body,” and to talk about what it means to be strong, inside and out. #ModernMuse #BeAnInspiration #ootd by @underarmourwomen
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 "Not having the typical ballet body, being told my bust was too big, I was too muscular, I was too brown..." she added for the title.

Copeland persevered, much to the help of her manager, her talent and determination. Her tenacity -- her desire to prove the critics wrong --is evident in her success. And it took a lot of hard work to get there. 

"I don't think my everyday schedule is ever mundane just because I'm doing so many different things -- just because when you're in a company like American Ballet Theatre, the repertoire that we have is so different," Copeland described. 

With her busy dance schedule, touring and writing, it's no surprise Copeland's daily diet is imperative to keeping her moving and on her feet. "I'm a snacker...my breakfast is pretty light, keeping it to yogurt, fruit or oatmeal. And then I'll just snack in between rehearsals -- so I'm constantly keeping fruit or nuts, just easy healthy things, that will fuel me and not weigh me down." 

One of her must-have snacks? Naked's new bars. "It's been amazing to have this incredible combination of ingredients that I was already eating daily with the fruit, nut and veggie bars with Naked," said Copeland. "My schedule is so hectic, it's so nice that I have something I can just pull out of my dance bag, and it's so nutritious and keeps me going throughout the day."

And Copeland's distaste for cheat days and dieting is just one more reason we love the star. "I love pizza, I love ice cream," she explained. "It's taken me a long time to figure out what works for my body...It's about living a healthy life. If you want to indulge, indulge. It's all in moderation."

Note taken, Misty. 

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