Not only is Daphne Lee a member of Dance Theatre of Harlem and a graduate student, but she's also a pageant queen who just finished her reign as Miss Black USA. Lee became involved in pageants to win scholarship money for school and promote cancer awareness. She's currently getting her MFA in dance at Hollins University through a low-residency program. "I'm always carrying a book," says Lee. She's also sure to keep her student ID with her. It works internationally, which can be helpful in getting student discounts on tour. Balancing her busy schedule isn't easy. That's why the most important item in Lee's dance bag is her planner. "I keep everything in here," she says.
Lee is not known for packing lightly. She keeps everything in a sturdy backpack. When not on tour, Lee also carries a wine bag holding six pairs of pointe shoes. Her Gaynor Mindens are completely custom, down to the color of the satin; the company modeled their "Mocha" tone off of Lee's skin.
Photo by Kyle Froman for Pointe
By row, from top left: Keys, Hollins University water bottle, Gaynor Minden Dancers' Dots, portable phone charger, Miss Black USA autograph cards, business cards, Collage Dance Collective sweatshirt, toothbrush for pancaking shoes, body spray, pens, The Dancer Within by Rose Eichenbaum, Dr. Scholl's Odor-X Spray ("to keep my toes dry"), playing cards ("I always have these with me, especially when we're on tour, so I can play in the airport"), planner, Eddie Bauer backpack, Freed pointe shoe scraper, spork, chopsticks ("I got these on tour with Collage Dance Collective in China"), Bunheads bobby pins, Vaseline, KT Tape, hairbrush, crochet needle, hair elastic, Gaynor Minden custom pointe shoes, scissors, Chanel No. 5 perfume, Voltaren ("I got it overseas when I was with Ailey II"), homemade legwarmers, Mentos mints, umbrella, silk scarf ("This is a little bit of black-girl magic. I wear it to keep my hair smooth before I go onstage"), ORS Olive Oil hair product, Afro pick, wrap skirt, phone, Mitchum deodorant, Huggies cleansing wipes, shower kit, striped shoe bag, tissues, antibacterial wet wipes ("to wipe down the barre"), ribbons, student ID, dental floss, Neosporin, Bunheads Stitch Kit, Capezio ballet slippers ("I wear leather for class"), canvas ballet slippers, Nature Valley bar, headphones, phone charger.