The 14-year-old Australian ballet dancer was refused to wear her Hijab to ballet studio. But nothing could stop her from pursuing her passion. On Valentine’s Day, Stephanie Kurlow is the first person to receive The Game Changer Scholarship by Sports fashion brand Björn Borg. ‘I want to bring the world together by becoming the very first Muslim Hijabi ballerina’ says Kurlow.
She has been dancing ballet since the age of two. In 2010, Australian schoolgirl Stephanie Kurlow converted to Islam together with her Australian father and her Russian-born mother. Being very proud of her Australian identity, she was surprised to receive a different treatment for simply wearing a hijab. Stephanie was frustrated to find there were no full time ballet studios that readily accepted her wearing hijab. Stephanie decided to take destiny into her own hands and started a crowd funding campaign to fulfil her dream to train in a top ballet school and be able to open a diverse performing arts school where everyone is welcome.
“I plan on bringing the world together by becoming the very first Hijab-wearing ballerina so that I can inspire so many other people to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams. I want to encourage everyone to join together no matter what faith, race or colour and I hope to leave in a world with greater acceptance. This scholarship funds my training and brings me closer to my goal”.
The Game Changer Scholarship by Björn Borg is instituted to support athletes with extraordinary visions and dreams, people who not only dream about a better future, but also have a plan to get there. People who can change the game.
“We were genuinely inspired to learn about Stephanie and her story. She is a true game changer and an extraordinary human being. The power and the courage that it takes for a 14-year-old to not give up in a situation like this, to see possibilities where others see problems, is exceptional”, Jonas Lindberg Nyvang, Marketing Director Björn Borg.