What impact does growing up being told you’re worth very little have? Who do you become when you are raised in an orphanage in war torn Sierra Leone? How can we transform our scars in to beauty? And how can we turn our despair in to hope? These were the questions we were asking at The Fem League when we found out we would had the opportunity to interview ballerina Michaela DePrince. We were moved by her story of growing up in an orphanage during the civil war in Sierra Leone. Knowing that there are several stories of tragedy globally, we wanted to gain insight in to how this powerful young woman turned things around.
One of eleven children, De Prince was adopted by her American parents at the age of four. “By the time I was eight years old, I decided not to focus on the past,” she says. Michaela has a strong support system in form of her family and boyfriend Skyler who is also a dancer. “He’s there for me, he’s the first person I told my whole story — I felt really safe,” she shares. When we asked Michaela how she overcame the trauma of her early life, she says “finding something you love can support in healing.”
Michaela De Prince truly stands in a League of her own. She reminds us that there is triumph after struggle. Michaela De Prince identifies with a strength that is beyond what she looks like or her circumstances. “Since I was young, I’ve always had to hold my head up high. You need to be who you are,” she says. DePrince channels all of herself in to her career as a ballerina at the Dutch National Ballet. She is focused and works hard. When she reaches a stage beyond her twenty years of ageless wisdom, De Prince will open an arts school in Sierra Leone, again to inspire women to create a league of their own.