Meet the girl who wants to be world's first hijab-wearing ballerina

Stephanie Kurlow has started a fundraising campaign on LaunchGood so she can train full time at a professional ballet school. (Instagram/Stephanie Kurlow)

Being a sports woman is not easy, being a hijabi sports woman is revolutionary.

But Muslim female performering artists and athletes around the world who choose to wear the headscarf, or hijab, have been breaking barriers and international bodies are taking note.

In this day and age, there is a lack of facilitation for youth who are disengaged or of a different religion or race

Stephanie Kurlow from Sydney, Australia is hoping to become the world's first hijab-wearing ballerina.

(Instagram/Stephanie Kurlow)

After converting to Islam in 2010, Stephanie gave up performing as she believed ‘there would be no way’ for her to become a professional ballet dancer.

She unwrapped the silk ribbons of her pointe shoes and tucked away her professional dreams after realising no local studios agreed to accommodate her hijab - they had their dress code.

Now 14 years old, Stephanie has been inspired to take up her dream again, citing the first female African-American ballerinas, Michaela DePrince and Misty Copeland, as inspirations.


Loving this custom tutu and all things blue💎

A photo posted by S T E P H A N I E K U R L O W (@stephaniekurlow) on

She is also inspired by Amna Al Haddad (read her story here), the first Emirati lifter to compete in a headscarf, as well as Noor Tagouri, the first hijabi news anchor to appear on US television.

Despite endless support from her immediate family and close friends, Stephanie receives hateful messages and bashing by random internet strangers who accuse her aspirations of dance as haram.

She believes that performing arts can be a way to bring people together, and is determined to make her dream come true, despite some people saying she can't make it.

In January, she created a crowdfunding campaign so she could train in a full-time ballet school for young girls. $7,047(Australian dollar) has been donated towards her goal of $10,000 AUD to cover the first year of her ballerina training.

On her way to chase her own dreams, Stephanie hopes she inspires other young girls to do the same, no matter the obstacles.

As she explains on her fundraising site, she dreams of opening "a performing arts school that caters to children and teenagers of different religions, races or backgrounds."


So shine bright✨

A photo posted by S T E P H A N I E K U R L O W (@stephaniekurlow) on

"In this day and age, there is a lack of facilitation for youth who are disengaged or of a different religion or race," she states.

Eventually Kurlow wants to open a diverse performing arts school for kids and teens of various religions, races and ethnic backgrounds, she writes in the campaign.

"I want to encourage everyone to join together no matter what faith, race or colour. To bring harmony and a world of acceptance for future generations."