Stephanie Kurlow

The World’s First Hijabi Ballerina

Ballet, like any art, can be a vehicle of self-expression. At just 16 years old, Stephanie Kurlow is proving that and more. She’s the first full-time ballerina to wear a hijab. Whether she’s appearing on stage or on CNN, she’s breaking down the misconceptions that hijabs can detract from femininity and empowerment.

When did you realize what you wanted to do in your life?

“I started dancing when I was two years old, but it wasn’t until I was 13 that I realized I wanted to be a professional ballerina.”

What is your biggest accomplishment to date?

“Going to Indonesia as a guest speaker at the 2017 Resonation Women’s Empowerment Conference in Jakarta and receiving a scholarship to the Royal Danish Ballet Summer School in Denmark this year.”

What’s something you’d like people to know about you or your job that they probably don’t?

“Ballet is a lot harder than it looks. It’s our job as dancers and artists to make it seem effortless and easy.”

What advice do you have for other women working toward their own dreams?

“Believe in yourself because you are the only one who wants this dream more than anyone else, and work smart not hard.”

Whom do you admire more than anyone else?

“Other than my mum, my ballet teacher. She forever inspires me.”

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