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Aussie Girl Dream to Become First Hijabi Ballerina

CAIRO – A young Sydney Muslim schoolgirl has launched a crowd-sourcing initiative to help her fulfill her dream and become the first hijabi ballerina in the world.

“I’ve gotten those looks or those little whispers from people saying that I can’t do it, and there are some parts of the ballet world that only see me for the clothes I wear, or the beliefs I have,” Stephanie Kurlow, a Year 9 student, told Sydney Morning Herald.

“But this means everything to me. I think I can bring people together through dance and inspire some young people from different races that might be a bit disengaged.”

The 14-years-old has been dancing ballet since she was two-year-old.

Reverting to Islam in 2010, the young girl stopped dancing after failing to find schools that catered to both her religious beliefs and dance needs.

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She decided to pursue her dream after seeing success stories of Muslim women around the world, including Misty Copeland who became the first African-American principal dancer.

Other success stories included Noor Tagouri who became the first American news anchor to wear a hijab and Emirati weightlifter Amna Al Haddad who took to the world stage with her headscarf on.

Now, the girl hopes to raise $10,000 to open a full-time ballet school in Sydney that caters to dancers of different cultural backgrounds.

Taking the decision to accept Islam, along with her Australian father, Russian-born mother and two brothers, Stephanie said Islam opened many doors for her talent.

She has won Muslim talent competitions and featured in many eisteddfods.

“It’s not just about me doing ballet. It’s about Muslims becoming engineers or TV presenters or writers,” she said.