For a working mom, the demands of career and family often conflict, forcing them to make tough choices. No one knows that better than ballerina, activist and new mom Misty Copeland
She recently sat down with journalist Graham Bensigner for an episode of his syndicated series, In Depth with Graham Bensigner.
During their chat, Copeland reflected on her journey to become the first African American female principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre and what she’s had to give up to get there.
Copeland reveals that her commitment to her craft has often come at the expense of her social life. The time she invested on developing as a dancer left her with little time for dating and other life experiences her peers had.
The ballerina credits actor Taye Diggs with introducing her to his cousin, attorney Olu Evans – the man who would become her husband. The couple, who wed in 2016, welcomed their first child, son Jackson in April 2022.
When asked if waiting to become a mother was a conscious decision, Copeland says she thinks the timing was perfect. “I feel this [was] when it was supposed to happen,” she said. But she adds that having kids any sooner could have stalled her career with American Ballet Theatre. “But it’s also really difficult as a classical dancer, as an athlete, as a woman,” she said. “If I were to have had a child when I was a soloist at ABT, I don’t think I would’ve become a principal dancer – which is terrible to think about.”
Copeland told Bensinger that professional dancers who become mothers are perceived as not serious about their careers even though the experience can only add to their artistry.
“You learn so much by living your life, and you become a better artist by having all these experiences. And so there’s this kind of double-edged sword,” she said.