Misty Copeland

D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

At just 32 years old, Misty Copeland has made history and helped pave the way for future dancers of color.

The accomplished ballet dancer received a historic promotion yesterday when she was named the first black principal ballerina at American Ballet Theater. Copeland, who was previously named one of Time's 100 most influential people, is the first black principal ballerina in the company's 75 year history.

E! News spoke with Misty about her day following her triumphant accomplishment as well as what her achievement means for the future of ballet.

Copeland had such a whirlwind day that she didn't even realize Mariah Carey gave her some praise on Twitter, so when we broke the news to her, she was more than thrilled (understandably so).

Misty Copeland, Swan Lake

Darren Thomas/QPAC

"I was recognized by Mariah Carey?!?!? Well that just made my day," she tells us.

"This has all become more than I ever imagined. I wanted to open the dialogue about race in ballet and bring more people in. It's just beautiful to see the interest that has exploded for such an incredible art form that I will forever be grateful to!"

The dancing beauty added that the first person she spilled the great news to was her boyfriend, however, "I was mad that the New York Times beat me to him." LOL!

Copeland entered a profession that wasn't exactly known of its wide diversity, but luckily, it didn't really steer her away from pursuing ballet...until she became an adult and began to have second thoughts. 

"I wasn't completely aware of all of that and what it meant. How deep rooted it is in this culture. So I had no apprehensions," she tells us. "But as an adult it was a scary thought. I questioned my future many times."

Misty Copeland, 2015 Tony Awards

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

However, Copeland clearly stuck it out and didn't let race play a role in deciding her future, so we asked the young star how she would advise young women of color to conduct themselves when faced with similar challenges.

"All you can do is be your best self. I've always felt that I had to be that much more aware of how I present myself. I'm representing more than just me. I think every person should think that way," Copeland explains to E! News.

"Just because I'm here in this position now doesn't necessarily mean it's not still going to be hard for others. Barack Obama being President of the United States doesn't mean racism has disappeared. It's all a process and we have to be aware that the work never ends."

Another ongoing controversy in the ballet world is body image. While Copeland's dancing credits are undeniably impressive, the ballerina, who began studying ballet at the age of 13, has also become a role model for young women, thanks to her ability to shift the stereotypical depictions of the ballet world. 

Misty Copeland, TIME 100


Her ad for Under Armour's "I Will What I Want" campaign, which she recorded last year, has been viewed over 8 million times on YouTube and the accompanying images showcase her incredible strength and muscular body.

So when asked what she would tell an aspiring ballerina who's told she doesn't have the "right body" for ballet, Copeland says, "Keep working. What you put into your body is just as important as how hard you dance. I believe with the right training and an understanding of how to take care of your body, you can mold it to be whatever you want it to be."

Misty's always on pointe (wink face).

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