When Stephanie Kurlow gets ready for ballet class, she puts on the usual: leotard, tights, toe shoes. And she also wears a hijab.
Stephanie started dancing when she was two. When her family converted to Islam in 2010, she struggled to both dance and honor her new religion. Making it harder still, some studios would not accept her if she insisted on wearing her head scarf.
While many Muslim women choose not to wear it, Stephanie told the New York Daily News, “[The hijab] is a part of who I am, and represents the beautiful religion that I love.”
Inspired by Misty Copeland, the pioneering ballerina who became American Ballet Theatre’s first black principal dancer, and hijabi American news anchor Noor Tagouri, Stephanie decided she could be a game-changer too.
The 14 year old ballerina’s Russian-born mother is her biggest supporter. When there was nowhere for Stephanie to dance, and some in her religious community frowned on her desire to do so, her mom opened the Australian Nasheed & Arts Academy, a studio offering dance and martial arts for kids of all backgrounds.
Hoping to train full time and become a ballerina certified to open her own school, Stephanie started a Launchgood campaign to raise funds. In her story, Stephanie writes,
I want to encourage everyone to join together no matter what faith, race or colour. To bring harmony and a world of acceptance for future generations.
Good for you, kid. Keep on keepin on.
Source: TeenVogue, NY Daily News, TakePart