Ballerina Kira Robinson recently went viral after she posted her reaction to receiving a pair of pointe shoes that matched her skin tone to TikTok.
The video, which has received over 1.4 million views on the platform since it was posted on Jan. 17, shows 18-year-old Robinson beaming with delight upon opening the package containing her brown ballet shoes.
Robinson's post received thousands of comments, with many people sharing in her excitement.
"I received a lot of comments on my TikTok about how representation is super necessary in the dance world and how a lot of people don't have that or see that often," she told Good Morning America.
As she mentions in the video, Robinson has had to "pancake" her shoes in the past, meaning she'd use makeup foundation to make them match her skin.
"Sometimes it's frustrating and annoying, but it's just how it is," she told the outlet, adding that she has done the practice for two years. "The dance world is slow to accept POC dancers, and I've just had to deal with it and do what I need to do to perform."
Robinson — who is in her freshman year at the University of Oklahoma — said she purchased the shoes from the company, Suffolk.
"I was ecstatic when I realized Suffolk was releasing new shoes," she told GMA. "I've been wearing pink ones ever since I was a young girl, but when I heard they were creating brown ones, I couldn't believe it. I knew I had to grab a pair."
The shoes mark a moment of inclusion in the industry, Robinson said, one that ballerinas have been asking for for a long time.
"I think we are seeing more diversity in products because of the Black Lives Matter movement," she said. "A lot of people were fed up with companies' lack of effort in diversifying their brand and it has taken a long time to see that change. Many have signed and sent petitions to ballet brands to create more colors in their products, and Suffolk was one that heard our plea and started making those changes."
"When they see me in brown tights and pointe shoes, it can be inspiring for them," she added. "I hope that people will look up to me and realize there can always be a brown ballerina on the stage."
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