President Obama and Misty Copeland have more in common than their mutual adoration. The first African American president and the first black principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater were both raised by single mothers in multi-racial families and each found mega success in their respective fields.
The two came together for a conversation with Time’s Maya Rhodan about body image and racial discrimination, and the result is seriously inspiring. “As the father of two daughters, one of the things I’m always looking for are strong women who are out there breaking barriers and doing great stuff,” Obama said. “Misty’s a great example of that. Somebody who has entered a field that’s very competitive, where the assumption is that she may not belong.”
Copeland agrees that her success has thrust her into the spotlight. “I feel like people are looking at me, and it’s my responsibility to do whatever I can to provide opportunities,” she said. “I didn’t want to pancake my skin a lighter color to fit into the ballet. I wanted to be myself.”
By doing so, she became a powerful role model for young African American women, and POTUS certainly agrees. Watch the full video above for their honest admissions and moving wishes for the future.