The story of Michaela DePrince did not start under the best auspices. Despite everything, life had a nice surprise in store for her, allowing her to become one of the most famous ballerinas in the world.
Michaela was born in 1995 in Sierra Leone as Mabinty. When her parents died, the little girl was sent to an orphanage in the country by her uncle. There, little Mabinty will become a number among many other children. In an interview, Michaela recalled her years at the orphanage: ” They named us from 1 to 27. One was the favorite child in the orphanage and 27 was the least favorite .”
Michaela was number 27 because of her vitiligo, a skin condition characterized by white spots on the body. As a result, the little girl was called ” the child of the devil ” in the establishment. However, the little girl finds a family and comfort with her closest friend, also called Mabinty, who wore the number 26.
The two little girls loved to play together, sing and tell stories while imagining what their life could be like if they were adopted. When that long-awaited day arrived.
New Jersey native Elaine DePrince had always dreamed of adopting a child from Africa. Her dream would finally be able to come true when Elaine was going to adopt Mabinty. But when it was time to finalize the paperwork, the orphanage found itself in a mess. “ I got a call from the adoption agency. They said, “Which Mabinty are you adopting?” We have 2 ,” says Elaine in an interview.
Elaine had just learned that the other orphan had been rejected by 12 families because of her skin condition. The future mother did not hesitate to adopt the two friends. The one who will be named Michaela and her friend had finally found a loving family in the United States.
While at the orphanage, Michaela discovered a passion for ballet after finding a photo in the newspaper. Arriving in the United States with Mabinty, Michaela told Elaine of her desire to one day become a professional prima ballerina . Elaine and her husband could only encourage her to cling to her dream and to do everything to make it come true.
A journey that led him to collaborate with Beyoncé and Madonna
The girl got used to her new life, filled with the love of her parents and her passion for dancing. Concerned that her vitiligo could close the doors of a professional career, Elaine knew how to reassure and encourage her. Through her hard work, Michaela rose through the ranks. At 17, she became the youngest ballerina to perform at the Dance Theater of Harlem in New York. She was then hired by the Dutch National Ballet and now lives in Amsterdam, her “ real home ”.
A beautiful story and a well-deserved success that led her to dance for Beyoncé and Madonna. The queen of pop, very touched by Michaela’s life course, now wants to adapt the young woman’s autobiography to the cinema.
“ Michaela’s journey has resonated deeply with me as an artist and activist who understands adversity. We have a unique opportunity to shed light on Sierra Leone and let Michaela be the voice of all the orphaned children she grew up next to. I am honored to bring her story to life ,” Madonna said.