14-year-old Stephanie Kurlow hopes to become the first Hijabi ballerina in the world! Kurlow, took up ballet at age 2 but after converting to Islam at the age of 8, it became difficult for her to join ballet schools as they were not accommodating to her dress choices.
Ever since then she has been trying to break barriers and hopes to start her own performing arts school to include children from all backgrounds and faiths.
"I converted to the religion of Islam in 2010 and it brought so many positive aspects in my life, but I stopped performing because we thought there would be no way of myself becoming a professional ballerina as there were no facilitations or services targeted at Muslim girls. However, so many inspiring changes are happening to the world. Like one of the first female African-American ballerinas- Michaela De Prince and Misty Copeland, the first Hijabi Emirati lifter Amna Al Haddad and the first Hijabi news anchor on American television Noor Tagouri - that have motivated me to pursue my passion against the odds of the world. Through your investment in me, I will be able to receive my qualifications and diplomas so that I may open a performing arts school that caters to children and teenagers of different religions, races or backgrounds. This school will have special programs for specific religions, support groups for our youth and people who are from disconnected communities. I will provide for our future generations a chance to express and heal themselves and others through the magnificent art of performing and creativity."
- Stephanie Kurlow