By Christina Dugan
11 November 2020
Throughout the years, Debbie Allen has found a way to turn rejection into strength.
In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, the Grey’s Anatomy actress and producer opens up about the years of tears, laughter and sweat that led her to where she is now.
“I grew up with a lot of ideas about myself,” says Allen, 70. “I always wanted to dance. I don’t remember ever not dancing. I used to sit as a little girl, contemplating the stars and the universe. And feeling myself. I used to do performances in the backyard to the birds in the trees. I had a sense that I was in a big world and that there was a place for me. I couldn’t articulate it as a child; I just knew the joy and the spirit of dance. It was inside of me. It was alive in me.”
Growing up in Houston, Texas, Allen — who found success on the movie and subsequent TV show Fame in the ’80s — experienced racism and hate, but remained determined to overcome the many challenges she faced.
Later, when she “went to the North Carolina School of the Arts to audition to go there for college,” Allen recalls, her dreams came to a sudden halt.
“I had been so well trained by that time by the Houston Ballet Foundation. I got there early, and I watched the auditions, I watched class. I was like, ‘Oh, I know all of this. I’ll be good.’ I got to my audition [group] and they used me to demonstrate,” says Allen.
Unfortunately, Allen says she was not accepted into the school because of her “body type.”
Read the full article here.