Stephanie Kurlow, daughter of Australian and Russian parents, has a passion for ballet. She started when she was only two years old. At the age of 9, she started wearing the hijab but that didn’t keep her from her true dream of becoming a ballerina. Her family converted to Islam in 2010.
About a year ago, this incredible athlete launched a fundraiser campaign on LaunchGood to finance her tuition for a year’s tuition at a professional ballet school in Sydney.
Kurlow said: “I plan on bringing the world together by becoming the very first Muslim Ballerina so that I can inspire so many other people to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams”.
The hardships of doing something different
At first, Kurlow experienced a lot of hardships. She couldn’t find a ballet class that would allow her to train with her hijab on. Kurlow told Mashable Australia that “The hijab is so important to me, because it’s a part of who I am and represents the beautiful religion that I love”.
Her biggest inspirations are her mom, Misty Copeland and Amna El Haddad. Her mother, Alsu, opened Nasheed & Arts Academy in 2012, a performing arts academy that offers ballet, martial arts, and aboriginal art classes. Misty is the first African American to be promoted to the main dancer in American Ballet’s Theatre’s history. Amna El Haddad is an Emirati competitive weightlifter.
Her goal is to one day open her own dance complex where youth of different places and religions can dance and have a support group they can fall back on.
The ballerina is also very involved as an ambassador. She is a Remove Hate From The Debate ambassador, a campaign that assists young people in identifying “online hate speech and understand how to best respond.” She has also won the Game changer scholarship by Björn Borg last year.
Oh and did I mention she is only 17 years old? Way to go, Stephanie!