She’s fourteen, a Muslim revert but most importantly she’s already a huge inspiration to many young girls out there. Her name is Stephanie Kurlow, but since a few days she’s known as the first hijabi ballet dancer. There’s more to Stephanie besides her amazing talent though. Not only does she want to achieve her own goals, she also wants to share her story to show girls that they’re capable of anything if they just believe in themselves.
Stephanie started dancing when she was only two years old, but when she converted to Islam in 2010 and started wearing the hijab, she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to dance anymore since many schools wouldn’t allow her to enter while wearing the veil. But the young dancer wasn’t thinking of taking it off either since it forms a huge part of who she is. However, she wasn’t planning on giving up, with some big inspirational women on her mind such as Noor Tagouri, she felt like she had to hold on tight to her dreams and do whatever it takes to fulfil what she wanted for herself.
Kurlow has now started a fundraising so she can fund not only her tuition but also the supplies and competitions for a year. This way she can become the professional ballet dancer she has always wanted to be. But her dream doesn’t stop here. She might be a young girl, but she sure is very passionate and has everything it takes to be called a young entrepreneur. Because Stephanie isn’t only thinking about her personal dancing career, she wants to open a performance art academy that would allow people from all different religons, ethnicities and backgrounds.
“I want to become a professional ballet dancer and receive my qualifications so that I can open a performing arts school that caters to children and young people of different faiths, races and backgrounds,” she said. “I believe that one day all children and young people will have an opportunity to perform and create, without sacrificing their values, beliefs or looks and my campaign is one step closer to achieving this.”
These sound like some major plans for a young teenage girl, but Kurlow can always count on support from her mother, who also owns her own performance art school. And Stephanie adds that even if she wouldn’t achieve her goals, she would still be glad that she was given a chance to raise her voice on this matter.
Talk about big dreams and big hopes. Muslim women have been opening a lot of doors for each other lately and Stephanie Kurlow is another wonderful person that can be added to that list of extraordinary women with hopeful projects for the future.