Misty Copeland On How She’s Staying Creative and Connected At Home Right Now

Photo credit: AMY ROTH PHOTO
Photo credit: AMY ROTH PHOTO

From Veranda

When ballerina, author, and activist Misty Copeland and her husband finally moved into her gorgeous, light-drenched home on the Upper West Side after purchasing the apartment in 2018, who could have guessed they’d be the only ones getting to revel in its beauty, coziness, and creative energy? While the three-bedroom home was designed with entertaining in mind, leave it to Copeland to find the silver lining in having to spend the first months in her new digs in quarantine.

“Even though we are doing lots of game nights over Zoom right now (Taboo and Codenames are a few favorites!), the two of us are using our dining room quite a bit, and we are really enjoying getting to know our home right now,” she says.

Not only is her home designed to be filled with game nights and cocktail parties, it’s also a space that fosters creativity, just what she needs right now as many theaters, museums, galleries, and other creative spaces are closed indefinitely due to Covid. Copeland sought L.A.-based designer Brigette Romanek to design her home and says Romanek was the perfect person to help bring their dream space to life.

“She has such a beautiful, contrasting style without being overbearing, and she has a respect for art as part of the home, not just something hanging on a wall,” Copeland says.

As an artist in her own right, it was important for Copeland to be surrounded by various forms of artwork in her own home to stay creative, motivated, and inspired. Much of her home features works by artists of color, like Lorna Simpson, Deborah Roberts, and Nathaniel Mary Quinn, along with photographs from a family’s travels to Africa, which make a powerful statement about the importance of diversity in the art world—something which Copeland has pioneered in her own way as the American Ballet Theater’s first female principal dancer of color.

Photo credit: Jamie McCarthy - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jamie McCarthy – Getty Images

Another essential part of owning a home that boosts Copeland’s creativity is having a special place to experiment in the kitchen and design beautiful tablescapes for entertaining loved ones—although Copeland is still waiting on the latter. For now, she is content to hone her cooking and mixology skills, test her new recipes on her husband, and join in on a few rounds of virtual Taboo. But with some help from Romanek, Copeland will be ready to bring those game nights into her own home once the coronavirus no longer threatens the city.

“My entertaining style is always based around food, and so my favorite entertaining essentials are my beautiful, custom dinnerware and serving pieces that Brigette helped pick out for us,” Copeland says. “I also love to use my kitchen to try new cocktails, and I always make sure I have a variety of wines around. My husband designed our bar, and we added a beautiful wine fridge in the kitchen.”

Two things you’ll always find in her wine fridge? Champagne and prosecco. While she’s always trying to build up her cocktail repertoire, Copeland has a penchant for bubbly beverages when hosting at her home.

Photo credit: Ian Palmer
Photo credit: Ian Palmer

“My go-to drink I’ve forced everyone to have at this point is champagne with St. Germain and a splash of elderflower,” Copeland says. “It’s simple but always good.” (Try our Summer 75 for a similar version).

While the kitchen is certainly the center of her home, especially right now, Copeland says she loves to use an entire space when entertaining and feels that’s an important part of her entertaining style to keep guests—and herself—at ease, whether that’s in the dining room or her enviable closet space.

“What I enjoy most about entertaining is allowing the journey of preparation being part of the night’s entertainment instead of being about people showing up at a certain time or putting the pressure of being perfect on yourself,” she says. “I love having people in the kitchen with me as I cook, and I want it to be organic—not so planned that you feel pigeonholed into what entertaining ‘has’ to be—I love when it moves from room to room. I also have friends that ask to hang in the dressing room, and absolutely
makes it more interactive and special.”

While Copeland longs to host her family and friends in her new home, she says having people back into her house again and part of her daily life will mean so much more.

“I think as a dancer in particular, we are so physical—and physical with one another—often in very intimate and vulnerable situations. That kind of trust and closeness is something I’m looking forward to again. I’m a hugger and love to be close to people, so I’m looking forward to having family come stay so that we can make the best use of our new home. I can’t wait to have people come and enjoy it as much as we have these last months.”

Photo credit: Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin – Getty Images

While it feels like the world is holding its breath until all this is over, Copeland is staying positive, focused, and energized in pursuit of her love for ballet and her work as an activist. She and fellow dancer, Joseph Phillips, started Swans for Relief, a Covid relief fund for suffering ballet companies and their performers, which she says she sees firsthand living in the most expensive city in the world where art thrives.

“Now is a great opportunity to open your eyes to this world of art and experience it for yourself right now,” Copeland says. “Maybe you’ll be drawn to something that you can pursue right now and then really invest in as things begin to open up.”

The multi-hyphenate is also preparing to release her fifth book, Bunheads, a children’s book based on Copeland’s own experiences in ballet, at the end of the month. Reflecting on her childhood experiences and the growth that has come from it makes her even more proud to be a home-owner, longing to share this space of her own with those she loves most.

“Home is everything, and i’m just so proud and fortunate to be in a position where I can give back to my family and build my own home in a way that I didn’t have growing up,” Copeland says. “We didn’t have a home most of the time, and I grew up with a single mom and five siblings often in a motel or friend’s home. What home means to me is a lot deeper than just a place to lay your head—it’s commitment, sacrifice, hard work, and love. I’m so proud I’ve worked so hard to have something I never thought I’d have.”

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