Michaela DePrince | Michaela DePrince and her mother, Elaine DePrince | Source: Facebook.com/michaela.deprince | Youtube.com/NBC News
Michaela DePrince | Michaela DePrince and her mother, Elaine DePrince | Source: Facebook.com/michaela.deprince | Youtube.com/NBC News

Girl Rejected for Her Looks Is Adopted by Mom Who Lost 3 Kids — She Becomes a Famous Performer

Brittany Chalmers
Mar 26, 2022
07:20 A.M.

Life was a struggle for one baby girl born in 1995 after losing both of her parents. Her time in an orphanage was a nightmare, but everything changed four years later.


Michaela DePrince faced challenges and pain most people will never know. She had already been through immense suffering and abuse at a young age—the little girl saw no reason to survive.

The former orphan who turned her life around and became a world-class dancer | Source: Youtube.com/Goalcast

The former orphan who turned her life around and became a world-class dancer | Source: Youtube.com/Goalcast

Her vitiligo skin condition left white spots on her neck and resulted in insults from her local community in Sierra Leone. She was ridiculed and told that no one would adopt her.

Michaela was originally named Mabinty Bangura. She was born at the height of a civil war in Sierra Leone where her father was killed. Her mother died from an illness and starvation.

The girl did not remember her parent's faces and had no memory of what the shared love of family felt like. After her parents died when she was only three, she was abandoned at an orphanage.


She Was Number 27 and She Wanted to Dance

Labeled the "Devil's Child," Michaela thought she was a monster and shared her experience growing up in an orphanage. She said, "They ranked us. Number one was the favorite child, and number 27 was the least favorite … I was number 27."

She spent many days starving, and things seemed hopeless until she saw a photo of a ballerina in a magazine. Michaela was intrigued and longed to be happy and beautiful like the woman in the picture.


Michaela expressed, "It was not just the fact that she's a ballerina. It's that she looks happy. And I wanted to be happy and ... if what she was doing made her happy, that's what I wanted to do." A seed was planted that changed her life forever.

When an American couple adopted her in 1999, she instantly told them she wanted to dance. The couple, who had lost three kids, were thrilled to welcome Michaela into their lives.


She Found a Loving Home

Elaine DePrince explained that she lost her children at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. She and her husband lost one of their three sons at 15 and another at 11. But the couple still had love to give, so when they heard of Michaela and her painful story of being unwanted, they were more than willing to take her.

Elaine and her husband showered their new daughter with love, drove her to dance classes, and helped rebuild her self-worth. At first, the youngster struggled to accept her new circumstances.


Elaine remembered the first day she met Michaela. She said she walked towards her on her toes, with a magazine with a ballerina on the cover. From day one, the mother promised Michaela that she would become a dancer.

Michaela was grateful but had spent her entire life experiencing loss, rejection, and disappointment. Thus, she revealed, "I used to have to sleep with the light on. I was just terrified that if I turned it off when I would wake up, I would be in the orphanage again."

She Proved Everybody Wrong


In time, Michaela settled into her new family and started working toward her goal of becoming a ballerina. She worked hard and stated, "The only way I could survive was ... to prove everybody wrong."

Her dancing journey came with challenges as she realized her skin color was also an issue for some people. Moreover, she was insecure about her appearance and worried that people would make fun of her.

Graciously, her adoptive mother assured her that the white spots on her skin looked like "pixie dust," and she slowly turned her concerns into confidence.


At only 17 years old, Michaela was the youngest performer at the Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York City. The director, Ted Brandsen, was in awe at the girl's willingness to succeed.

Her hard work paid off, and at 22, she was hand-picked by the iconic singer Beyoncé to put together a choreography for her solo appearance in her music video for the song "Freedom," featured in Beyoncé's well-known album, "Lemonade."


Michaela proved everyone wrong and danced on stages worldwide. Her story encourages many people to keep dreaming no matter the circumstances.

Another Child Gets a Loving Home

Parents can't always fulfill their duty of nurturing and caring for their kids. These children often end up in orphanages or foster homes, longing to be adopted. Randall was a teenage boy who had been abused and needed a loving home.

Thankfully, Casey Douglas and her husband were looking for a child to love in Texas. When their caseworker told them about Randall in 2017, they were interested immediately. Two years later, the adoption was official!


Randall and Michaela are immensely grateful for their adoptive families, who filled their lives with warmth and showed them what real love looks like.

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