So it comes as no surprise that esteemed photographer Gregg
Delman -- whose work has appeared in Rolling
Stone, The New York Times and Vogue -- was captivated by her after
first seeing an image of her in a magazine, prompting him to cold call her
manager to see if Copeland would allow him to photograph her. “One look at
Misty and I intuitively knew she was special,” Delman writes. Of course, she
said yes, becoming the subject of Delman’s first book, Misty Copeland (Rizzoli).
When Delman reached out to Copeland, this was well before
the ballerina became the first African-American principal dancer at the
American Ballet Theater on June 30, 2015. Of course, her profile was already on
the rise following an acclaimed performance as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, landing on the Time 100 and
starring in a powerful ad for Under Armor. She was also the subject of the 2015
documentary, A Ballerina’s Tale,
which chronicles the highs and lows of being a professional ballerina.
Yet, all that pretense and fame was stripped away.
“Because of the unassuming simplicity in our preparation, I
didn’t expect to see the exceptional classic beauty that was consistently
created in our photographs, and I was blown away by how full and finessed the
end product always was,” Copeland writes in the foreword of the book. “For the
majority of our shoots there was no glam squad or walls of wardrobe -- I did my
own hair and makeup, wore my own clothes, and just like that, we’d get to work.”
And the results are stunning. Check out ET’s first look at
the book before it hits shelves on Sept. 27.