Entrepreneurs

Misty Copeland used to have to shop at the 99-cent store, so now she splurges on this

Today Misty Copeland is a famous dancer and has made lucrative deals with the likes of Under Armour, Diet Dr. Pepper, Coach and Estee Lauder.

But her life wasn't always so glamorous.

Copeland, who started studying ballet at 13, grew up San Pedro, California and was raised by a single mom who juggled many jobs just to be able to put food on the table. And that food wasn't exactly healthy, Copeland tells CNBC Make It — it was often an instant cup of noodles, she says.

So now, being able to afford healthy food is not something Copeland takes for granted.

"[G]rowing up, we would shop at the 99-cent store a lot of the time," Copeland tells CNBC Make It at an event for the Drink Good Do Good campaign, a partnership between Naked Juice and non-profit Wholesome Wave. "[T]hat was the only food I could get a hold of. So when I had the money to buy good groceries...that's what I spent it on."

"I splurge a lot on good groceries," she says. "Not all organic, but just tons of vegetables that I love to just roast. Or really good fish. Just throw it all in the oven."

As a professional ballerina — notably, the first African American woman principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre — it's no surprise that Copeland abides by healthy eating habits today; ballet requires immense strength and a lithe physique.

But she hasn't forgotten what it was like to struggle and not have access to healthy food.

"It's been a long process for me," Copeland says. "Growing up as a young person, one of six children, living in a single parent home, on food stamps some of the time. And not always having a home, and definitely not having access to quality food, fruits and vegetables."

It's what has inspired her to serve as a spokesperson for the Drink Good Do Good campaign.

"I know how important it is for these communities to be able to have that access," she adds. "And then growing up and becoming a professional dancer, I think I realized even more how important it is for me to fuel my body and to be in the right state of mind and to be alert and to be healthy."

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