Campaign Spotlight: Jockey Finds its Star in Michaela DePrince


Misty Copeland is not the only ballerina of color who is making an impact on global audiences. Enter Michaela DePrince.

It is a rare that a ballet dancer achieves notoriety beyond the proscenium arch; however, both Misty Copeland with her 2015 “Under Armour” campaign, and now Michaela DePrince, with her recent campaign with Jockey, have done just that. And they are both ballerinas of color, another rarity!!

DePrince gained national attention with her appearance in the dance documentary “First Position.” “First Position” followed several top dancers competing at the Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition. DePrince storyline particulary stood out because of her circuitous and somewhat perilous path to ballet notoriety.

Michaela DePrince (born Mabinty Bangura) was orphaned in her war torn Sierra Leone, and one of the last adoptable prospects because of her skin condition, vitiligo. (Some people in West Africa believe vitiligo is as an indication of evil or demon possession.) Inspired by a discarded coloring book about ballerinas, Michaela DePrince dreamed one day she would become a ballet dancer without having ever seen a ballet or knowing what ballet was.

Later, DePrince was adopted by a compassionate American couple who enrolled her in dance classes.Her prodigious talent and drive was evident early on and DePrince studied on scholarship to the Rock School in Philadelphia and American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Onassis School of Ballet. After graduation DePrince performed with the Dance Theatre of Harlem and is now a soloist with the Dutch National Ballet. Her best-selling book Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina has been optioned as film by MGM. Michaela in 2016 also starred in the “Hope” section of Beyonce’s “Lemonade” video.

The Jockey #ShowEm campaign introduces Michaela proudly wearing Jockey in a personal, intimate video and series of portraits illustrating what’s underneath it all, both literally and figuratively. #ShowEm honors everyday heroes who embody the spirit and values of Jockey and the characteristics that make them unique, like perseverance, courage, family and hope.

Images courtesy of Jockey

Images courtesy of Jockey

“Michaela’s story from survival to success made her an ideal hero for the #ShowEm campaign,” said Matthew Waller, senior manager of corporate communications and brand partnerships, Jockey. “We’re so proud to be able to amplify Michaela’s story and be a part of her life as she continues to realize her dream and inspire others by conveying the message of ‘hope’.”

“I was drawn to Jockey and its #ShowEm campaign because it is authentic and inspiring,” said Michaela DePrince. “The campaign gives me an opportunity to reach more people with my story and inspire others to feel confident and comfortable with who they are, inside and out, and provide hope.

Developed by marketing partner Pure Growth Consulting, the “Show ’Em What’s Underneath, Show ’Em Your Jockey” campaign will be supported by national print ads in PeopleWomen’s HealthAllureElleDance Magazine, among others. The campaign will be activated online with video, digital ads and social media.

The Jockey #ShowEm campaign launched on April 27.


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