This Ballerina's Shattering Stereotypes in Her New Role as Beauty Queen

October 18, 2017

Daphne Lee is a queen, and not just in the “OMG Girl Boss Alert” sense of the word. She’s an actual queen—a beauty queen. Crowned Miss Black USA in August, she’s been doing double duty as she continues to dance with the Memphis based dance company, Collage Dance Collective. Lee’s new title has given her the means to encourage other black girls and boys to pursue their dreams, while also pursuing dreams of her own. The scholarship money awarded with the pageant title will assist her as she earns a Masters of Fine Arts degree at Hollins University.

In a recent interview with Allure, Lee discussed her new platform as a pageant queen and how she hopes to inspire the next generation.

“As a black woman, as a black dancer, I can do many different styles and this body is an instrument,” Lee said. “I’m showing the black body in a different light—in a way that’s positive, in a way that’s different, but also staying true to my roots.”

Lee goes on to point out that her physical features are unusual in the world of ballet, where Eurocentric beauty standards have been the norm. By owning the characteristics that make her unique in the world of ballet, she’s become an activist. The New Jersey native described how she’s using her art form as a medium to challenge the status quo.

“When I do photoshoots I make sure that I show that yes, I’m a black ballerina, but I can show unique styles that can benefit staying true to myself, [while] also staying true to the classical form,” Lee told Allure.

Check out the rest of the interview to find out how Lee is devoted to changing ballet for the better.