If you’ve ever been a dancer then you will know just how tough it can be. Aside from all of the physical limits you push your body to, it is also a career that pushes expectations on you of what you should look like. There can be cruel people in such a cut-throat industry, but one bullied dancer is striving to rise above it by inspiring millions.
For most people, when they think of a dancer they think of a tall, slender ballerina-type. But Lizzy Howell is challenging people’s perceptions of what a dancer should look like and how successful they can be.
Lizzy Howell is a talented dancer but she has faced constant ridicule because of her size. When a video clip of her dancing went viral, she gained millions of fans, but she also suffered online shaming. Despite the cruel comments that people would make, Lizzy has persevered and is acting as a role model for others who don’t fit the stereotypes for their passions.
When Lizzy’s mother passed away when she was only 5-years-old, she began gaining weight. She lived with her aunt, Linda Grabowski, who encouraged her to take up dance lessons. Sadly, Lizzy’s weight made her a target for many of her hateful peers.
Dance is her outlet for all her emotions, good and bad [but] she persevered. She wanted to drop out many many times. – Linda Grabowski
Despite her mistreatment, including at one dance convention where a jealous fellow dancer stood on her foot purposefully to force her out of classes, Lizzy has persevered. She won’t let anyone get in the way of her dream. She is much more than her body type and she is finally being recognized for her talent.
When well-known dance photographer, Jordan Matter, held a competition for people to be in his latest photo series, Lizzy stood out from the crowd. Her emotional and inspirational story caught his eye and she was an easy choice as a winner. Jordan took Lizzy to New York and treated her to a visit to the Capezio store and then conducted a location photoshoot in Times Square.
I think sometimes social media paints a pretty picture in people’s minds; I used to think famous people’s lives were all happy. It helps to realize that people who hide behind a screen and bully you would never say anything to your face. If you are being told you should quit doing something you love, don’t quit! It’s one person’s opinion, and honestly, if they can’t see how happy it makes you, their opinion doesn’t matter. Only yours does. – Lizzy Howell
Lizzy is the perfect example of how you should never let anyone else dictate your life and your dreams. She fights for her passion and, as a result, has become an inspiration to many all over the world.