Meet The Inspiring Teen Redefining What It Means To Be A Ballerina

Inspiring teen ballerina
James Graham


Jan 18, 2017

Lizzy Howell couldn’t be more chuffed that she’s single-handedly changing the image of dancers with every pirouette.

Just don’t go calling her a “plus-size” ballerina.

“If I can do everything that anyone else can do, why should I be in a separate category?” Lizzy tells BuzzFeed.

“I’m very happy that someone discovered me. It’s a whole new thing for people where I live.”

The inspiring 15-year-old, however, is capturing imaginations further afield than her native Delaware thanks to social media.


Thousands of fans have watched this mesmerising viral clip, and many have hailed her a role model for women of all sizes because of her confidence and beauty.

Lizzy told Daily Mail Online that she started dancing when she was five-years-old and has been practicing ballet for the past 10 years.

She uses dance as a way to relieve stress and to deal with a medical condition called pseudotumour cerebri, which causes excess pressure around the brain.

The ballerina, who also practices jazz and tap dancing, trains four days a week and participated in a recent local production of The Nutcracker.


“I enjoy most of the comments saying I’m an inspiration for people of all sizes,” Lizzy adds.

“I really like being called an inspiration, it makes me feel better about myself and what I’m doing.”

“However, I do not like when people say, ‘Oh my gosh I can’t believe she’s better than me!’ That implies that plus sized people can’t dance, and it makes me feel self-conscious.

“It shouldn’t matter how much I weigh, the only thing that should matter is my passion for dance.

“I am trying to lose weight. I know it will make me a better dancer, as well as make me healthier. Losing weight is hard!”

Lizzy admits she has had to deal with “lots and lots of negativity” but she is mostly able to laugh off the cruel gibes.

When asked what advice she would give to a young girl who has resisted pursuing her dreams because of her size, Lizzy stresses that “stereotypes are made to be broken”.

“You will have to work twice as hard for everything that everyone else gets, but it will be worth it in the long run to prove the “haters” wrong.

“Do what you love and don’t let anyone stop you.”


By James Graham


With over 20 years as a journalist and TV producer, James Graham has a wealth of experience covering the full media spectrum. James has a formidable reputation as a talented media veteran and worked as a reporter, script writer and as the producer of the TV documentary The Road To Athens. He has worked across newspapers, radio and the biggest flagship magazine brands in Australia and New Zealand. Previously, James was the News Director at Woman's Day and New Idea. Whether filing celebrity exclusives, or some of the biggest real-life splashes of recent years, James’ career has always been at the frontline of mainstream media. When not writing, you’ll find him at Royal Randwick, his beloved Long Reef Golf Club on the Northern Beaches – or visiting his mum in his native New Zealand.


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