Misty CopelandAmerican Ballet Theater's Spring Gala, Arrivals, New York, USA - 22 May 2017

“Well, it actually was all based on what Marcelo Gomes was wearing,” Misty Copeland said Monday evening of her blush Stella McCartney gown. “He’s wearing Gucci, and it’s got a lot of design and color, and we’re speaking tonight and opening up the evening, so I didn’t want to clash with him. I was like, ‘Let’s be as simple as possible.’ I was teasing him today, I was like, ‘Diva! We’re working around you!’”

Copeland was taking a rare backseat at the annual American Ballet Theater gala at Lincoln Center, where she and Gomes introduced the evening’s production, Alexei Ratmansky’s “Whipped Cream.”

As it turns out, the McCartney dress was just a little something she had tucked away in her closet. “I’m so open with fashion and as crazy as it sounds, I like to just dress myself, and be in control and have my tailor do everything,” she said. “I’m short, I have boobs, and I love clothes, so I have a lot of gowns in my closet to choose from.”

The self-styler is scheduled to perform in “Whipped Cream” in June, but wasn’t entirely off-duty for the evening. “I’ve never been on this end of the American Ballet Theater’s gala,” she said of her speaking responsibilities. “I’m usually performing or just attending, so it’s a different perspective. It’s exciting — I think we’ve taken on a different approach to our galas more recently where we have condensed it to one ballet, which I think is more entertaining to the audience. We used to do a bunch of little things that would give a taste of what was coming for the season, and it can be a bit overwhelming. We’re just doing ‘Whipped Cream’ tonight, and I think it’s nice for the audience to see the dancers speak. It’s a change for us as well – a little nerve-wracking, because we don’t usually do things like this. Today was the first day we touched on it; in the physical therapy room while Marcelo was getting PT, we were like, ‘Let’s go over this.’”

“Whipped Cream” is a fantastical production that features dancing sweets, as told through the story of a young boy.

“It’s very similar to the ‘Nutcracker’ in that way, where it’s his dreams and this kind of fantasy world that he’s built up, and you get to explore it with him,” Copeland explained. “It’s the craziness that kids imagine – it’s not something at all that we would think of as an adult story, but the sets and the designs and the costumes are over the top, and it’s such a feast for the eyes.”

As for her own sweet tooth? “I cook and I bake a lot – I do a lot of key lime pies, and I love cheesecake,” she said. “I’ve never made cheesecake myself, but I make a lot of pies and cakes and my own dough.“

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