A Journey To Happiness

Michaela DePrince had a tumultuous beginning. She was born in Sierra Leone during civil war and by age of three, both of her parents had died and she was living in an orphanage. At four, Michaela was blessed to be adopted by an American couple, and moved with them to Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Even with her new life, her battles were far from over. Michaela was born with vitiligo, an autoimmune disease that causes the loss of skin pigmentation.

This disease caused her to be an outcast at the orphanage, and continued to cause her issues in her new life as well. Because of her condition, it was very difficult to let people in as a child. She was already afraid people would see something negative if she opened up, but she soon realized that if she did not open up, she would never be able to become the artist that she really wanted to be. She believes in some way that the adversity she experienced as a child helped to prepare her for the struggles in her chosen profession.

The now 21 year old dancer is a soloist for the Dutch National Ballet. She was also a breakout ballerina in a documentary film First Position, which chronicled the attempts of 6 proteges as the prepared for the Youth American Grand Prix.

DePrince’s personal outlook is a positive one, she is always focusing on the good rather than the negativity of the past. Her attitude has propelled her into such campaigns as Jockey’s “Show ‘Em What’s Underneath” campaign. Her memoir, Taking Flight, has been published in 12 countries and she has garnered a solo in Beyonce’s Freedom Video from the album, “Lemonade,”. Along with the love and support, her career has helped her to heal from the hardships of her past. She states that it is not worth your time on people who think negative thoughts about you. Be who you are, do what you love, and tell YOUR story.

Today she works on paying it forward as an ambassador for War Child Holland, an organization that helps children in conflict areas. She says helping people, especially the children, makes her happy. She currently lives in Amsterdam where her dance company is based and enjoys biking.