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10 Disabled Latinas Killing It In Fashion And Beauty

Thanks to ableist movies like “Me Before You,” “Split” and “The Shape of Water,” when most people think of disabilities they often associate it with all things depressing, scary or pitiful. Mainstream media  consistently portrays disabilities in a way that have led many of us to believe that those in the community only come with one story and one shade: ones that are depressing and white. Fortunately, the stories of the disabled community are so much diverse, they’re beautiful, fierce, many are positive and all come in the many different skin tones that contribute to Fenty Beauty’s existence.

Here are nine Disabled Latinas who are challenging beauty standards and showing the world how beautiful and diverse Disabled Latina beauty is.

1. Tamara Mena

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Happy #cincodemayo!! ???????? I’m Proud to be #Mexican!! So with that said, today is NOT Mexico’s Independence Day!! Today, a really important battle was won that led us to our Independence Day on September 16th! So it’s not Mexico’s Independence Day, today! Just for all of you who may not know!???? But somehow this is a day that someone in the US figured out, hey let’s make a lot of money celebrating mexico, selling lots of margaritas ???? and tacos????! ????????‍♀️???? So cheers to that! Enjoy today ☄️and be safe!!! Don’t drink and drive!!???? It’s not worth it! ???? What ya think about this look? All my clothes and accessories were hand made and embroidered by indigenous people in Mexico!♥️ • OMG I forgot to tell you all the most important thing about today, TODAY IS THE ANNIVERSARY OF MY SECOND CAR ACCIDENT, in which I was driving! It was so bad that we dropped 50 feet, my car rolled over three times, that car is totaled…but by god’s grace and my angels watching over me,we all survived, my mom, @marthaelviap and my cousin @dayrarominna!????♥️ So today I don’t just celebrate, cinco de mayo, I celebrate life!! Because I’m SO so lucky to be alive so cheers to LIFE!!! • __________________ Feliz Cinco de Mayo, a los que lo celebran! Yo sé que en #Mexico no se celebra tanto como en E.U. Pero bueno cómo orgullosa Mexicana, les comparto esta foto!????????♥️ A celebrar! Pero si tomas, no manejes por favor!???? No vale la Pena ???? Bendiciones! Les gusta este look? con ropa típica y accesorios hechos a mano por nuestros paisanos de #oaxaca! ♥️ • Chicos me olvidé de compartirles lo más importante de este día, HOY ES EL ANIVERSARIO DE MI SEGUNDO ACCIDENTE DE CARRO, en el cual yo estaba manejando! Fue horrible, tanto que nos caímos a un barranco y mi carro se volcó tres veces, caímos 50 pies y ese carro fue perdida total…Pero por la gracia de Dios y nuestros ángeles que nos estaban cuidando, todas sobrevivimos mi mamá, @marthaelviap y mi prima, @dayrarominna!????♥️ Así es que hoy no sólo celebró el “5 de Mayo” CELEBRÓ La VIDA!! Porque soy MUY afortunada en estar VIVA después de ese accidente, así es que salud por la vida!!! ????

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Born and raised in Leon, Mexico, Mena immigrated to the United States at 13. The bilingual motivational speaker, actress, and model advocates for disability rights by frequently sharing her experiences on Instagram. When Tamara was 19, she suffered a car accident that left her paralyzed from the mid-chest down. The accident also caused the death of her boyfriend. In the years following the incident, Tamara has worked as a public speaker and encouraged others in the community on how to thrive in the face of a derailment. She participated in the famous beauty pageant Nuestra Belleza Latina as the first woman to be in a wheelchair in the competition and is one of the first Disabled talents to work with Ipsy. These days, she continues to use her voice and style to show young Disabled Latinas that they can achieve their dreams.

2. Jillian Mercado

This Disabled Afro-Latina has been killing it on the runway and in front of the camera since her modeling career took off when she landed an ad campaign with Diesel Jeans. Born with muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass, Jillian has used her voice to highlight how she and others have grown up with a severe lack of disabled representation in the fashion world. Since this New York Based Dominicana’s ad with Diesel Jeans, she has been signed with IMG models and has worked with Target and other large major brands. She’s definitely one to keep an eye on in the fashion world.

3. Marimar Quiroa

This Selona/Latina is killing the makeup game on Instagram and YouTube with her vibrant use of eyeshadows to create signature looks. Marimar is a 23-year-old Latina born with a facial tumor called “Cystic Hygroma.” She uses sign language to communicate with her followers on YouTube and Instagram and spreads a message to others to embrace their beauty. Growing up Marimar felt she needed to hide her face but after discovering makeup, she has embraced her features and found a passion in being a makeup artist.

4. Christina Feliz

Christina Feliz Martinez is a makeup artist and professional model based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Inspire by her Latinidad, chronic illness, and love for makeup, she uses her platform to share looks that she creates that celebrate it all. Because of her chronic illness, she has retired from modeling full time but does shoots occasionally. These days, she’s mostly focused on her work as a full-time makeup artist who highlights beauty products that can be a benefit to the chronic illness community.

5. Dru Presta

Standing at 3ft 4in, this Puerto Rican-Sicilian model born with a form of dwarfism is on a mission to change the fashion industry one photo at a time. Dru grew up in Reno, Nevada where she experiences bullying and isolation from her peers. Determined to not let the ugliness of others affect her, Presta uses her platform to show her audience that sexy can come in many sizes.

6. Annie Segarra

Annie Segarra, more commonly known online as Annie Elainey is a Disabled Peruvian-Ecuadorian Latinx with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) which is a connective tissue disorder. On YouTube, Annie creates videos that bring awareness to EDS but also speaks about the intersection of being disabled and Queer. Their platform has become a safe space for Disabled LGBTQ+ to feel seen and supported. When Annie isn’t creating videos, they’re slaying on Instagram with their #disabledandcute fashion looks. Their photos show outfits paired perfectly with their mobility aids.

7. Jessica Ruiz

Jessica Ruiz is a Puerto Rican-Irish makeup artist based in Philadelphia whose main tool in creating looks for her clients is her mouth!  Born with arthrogryposis, a condition that doesn’t allow her joints to move “normally”, she learned how to apply makeup with her mouth by holding the tools between her lips. She made makeup accessible for herself and after being rejected by a beauty school because of her disability she said “girl bye” and began a career for herself as a makeup artist. Her biggest break came when she had the opportunity to work at the Philadelphia Small Business Fashion Week where she was the lead makeup artist for the event. Jessica is making a name for herself as a disabled Latina MUA, and won’t be stopping any time soon!

8. Elsie Tellier

Living with Cystic Fibrosis (a terminal illness that affects the respiratory and gastrointestinal system), this Mexican-French Canadian uses her wheelchair to show off her love for fashion and her personality. After finding clothes that were comfortable and made her feel good while being in her chair, she began painting her wheels with pictures of galaxies and flowers to match her aesthetics. She uses her mobility aid as a fashion statement that challenges society’s absurd beauty standards. Tellier has said that her big goal is to see fashion brands make fashion accessible for those who use aids like wheelchairs, crutches, canes etc.

9. Giovanna “Gigi” Giscome

giovanawashere_/Instagram

This Afro-Latina from New York City and based in San Francisco Bay Area combines her love for fashion and modeling with her disability rights activism. Gigi has said that as she was growing up her parents taught her to love her disability but she soon noticed that that outside of her family atmosphere often revealed how uncomfortable they were with her disability. While she personally felt fine about being disabled she knew she wanted to change the mindset of others and did so with the help of fashion. Modeling and becoming a fashionista is Gigi’s way of fighting beauty standards which typically only showcase white, able models. Her fashion choices make a statement that both she and her disability are beautiful. Her photos show that she can bring it when it comes to high fashion with jaw-dropping looks.

10. Sofía Jirau

sofiajirau / Instagram

Sofia Jirau is a 22-year-old Puerto Rican model with Down Syndrome. She is, to say the least, a true jefa whose recent appearance on the runway at a New York Fashion Week show is undoubtedly a game-changer. While walking the runway this past week, the model lived out her dream of not only modeling in New York but also shaking up its fashion scene. “When I was little, I looked myself in the mirror and said, ‘I’m going to be a model and a businesswoman,’” Jirau told People in an interview.

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A Black Teen Earned Over $1 Million In Scholarships From 18 Colleges That Accepted Her

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A Black Teen Earned Over $1 Million In Scholarships From 18 Colleges That Accepted Her

Joe Sohm/Visions of America / Getty

Shanya Robinson-Owens applied to over 20 colleges and has been accepted into 18 of them.

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the high school senior has also been offered more than $1 million in scholarship money. The 17-year-old Philadelphia teen currently attends George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science but is headed towards a pretty bright and educated future.

According to a recent interview with “Good Morning America” the star student earned $1,074,260 in scholarships.

“We are overjoyed,” Robinson-Owens aunt told the show in a recent interview. “I knew she wouldn’t have a problem getting into colleges, but we didn’t know they would award her this much money in scholarship funds.”

Shanya, who was accepted to Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; La Salle University in Philadelphia; Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri; Temple University in Philadelphia and Cabrini University in Radnor, Pennsylvania, told GMA that she “wasn’t really expecting it” so many offers let alone so much money.

The senior currently holds a 3.2-grade point average and is a member of the school’s yearbook committee. She also works as an intern alongside her Chinese language teacher.

When it comes to the advice she’d give other students, Shayna says it’s important to “take your time” with your work and the application process.

“You really have to be patient,” Shanya explained. “Stay focused. If you need to have some time away, it’s OK. You can tell your teachers that because they know you’re stressed.”

“We’ve always been extremely proud of her,” Shanya’s aunt, Christine Owens, explained to GMA. “My mother has helped raise Shanya since she was a baby. We’ve just been working as a team making sure Shanya keeps God first in anything she does and she is succeeding.”

Speaking about Shanya, her school principal Ted Domers told GMA that Shanya is a “well-respected student at her school.”

“In addition to being a part of a movement to bring more social action to our school, she’s involved in a number of extracurricular activities that show the breadth of her skills, from robotics to journalism,” Domers explained. “It is a privilege for us to count Shanya as one of our own and we are excited to see her create opportunities for her future.”

Shanya has yet to make a college pick.

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Women Are Giving People In Their 20s Advice On How To Get Their Derailed Lives Back On Track

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Women Are Giving People In Their 20s Advice On How To Get Their Derailed Lives Back On Track

Warner Bros. Pictures

If there’s one thing that your twenties will most definitely teach you, it’s that life is filled to the brim with ups and downs, highs and lows. More often than we’d like, in our lives we find ourselves digging ourselves out of the holes we’ve created for ourselves (be it personal, financial, or career-related). Fortunately, so much of our twenties are about building up our strength so that we can conquer the downs and lows of our lives.

Recently, women on Reddit got together and shared their tips for how to get back on track.

Check out some of the best bits of advice, below!

“Gain some perspective. Take a step back from any social media that you’re engrossed with. I’m not saying you are, but lots of us are so overly engaged with the media we consume it can become harmful to our own self-esteem. Focus on what you want to achieve in the short and medium term for yourself and appreciating the steps you take towards those goals. Focus on the short term. If this last year has taught us anything it’s that you can’t plan too far ahead.” –MillieGouLightly

“Yes, make short term goals that are attainable. Also shoot for a long term one, too. I was like this. I was letting life lead me. Then I took action and things improved. Anot her thing to note: the human brain doesn’t fully mature until around age 26. Cut yourself some slack.” –EddieAllenPoe

“Could not agree more on the social media part. I’m just in the stage of realising that mindless browsing could have so much affect on how we perceive ourself, which is why I’ve been taking detox days where I don’t check FB or Instagram and I must say I feel so much better by adopting a more realistic perspective on life. I would only use social media to do research on things that interest me, reading the news, getting advice on reddit and thats about it. I also try to read as much as I can because it gives me new ideas and its a mental exercise.” –SilkEmpire

Kind of related to the whole “people pleaser” thing, I really struggle with not putting so much stock in other people’s opinions (that I don’t necessarily agree with). For example, once you’re in your mid 20s, people on Reddit comment that “30 is around the corner” for you or that you’re “almost 30”. And when I point out how I don’t think that’s true (like you’re not “almost” any age til the very late part of that decade imo), I still see a couple of people coming in and go all, “well AKSHUALLY it’s technically true” (umm okay? but even if you think 5 years goes fast, it is still a substantial amount of time). Idk…but seeing comments like these makes me feel like I’m getting my time taken away from me. It feels like they trying to force you to feel older than you really are, or it’s almost like they are wishing away your time (cuz I notice it’s usually older people that make these comments). I find it pretty cruel to do, as I see no point in saying things like this to someone unless you wanna pressure them to conform to your timeline or make them feel bad.” –wahwahwhatodoooo

“How did you do this? I have realized for some years now that I have become a complete people pleaser, but I just can’t stop. It’s not that I don’t want to continue to be nice to people, but I do want to be able to communicate and enforce my boundaries. Also beeing a people pleaser makes me a boring and undefined character. So any tips on how to deconstruct this behaviour are appreciated.” –Vegetable_Scholar_11

“What if you are torn between doing something and not doing it? I want to quit my job so I can focus fully on school and myself, but I’m also worried it will harm me in the future even if it’s what I want and need right now. Do you just go with your gut and do what you feel like doing? Or do you consider how making that decision will affect you in the future, too? Especially if you burn bridges with the people you didn’t want to please and then it comes back to bite you.” –naanbud

“By realizing that not having the stereotypical “dream job isn’t everything” – as another commenter said, I realized how the income I do get, even if it’s not what I need or in a field that I find terribly interesting, allows me to pursue hobbies and interests on the weekends or in free time.

I also thought back ten years ago to my teens, and thought how worried I was then and, things worked out. I find that comforting that in another ten years, I’ll probably feel the same about doubts I have now.” –70378939272586Aa

“The career I wanted at 21 is not the same career I have or want at 32, or even 26. I’m with the same company I started with at 21, but since then have joined a department I didn’t even know existed when getting my college degree.” –jcollins88

“Yes this 100%. I try not to sink further in depression because the only jobs that will hire me are retail and food service but I’m working on pumping up my portfolio to get an art job. It seems like a long shot especially because the industry I’m trying to break into is competitive but I know my skills have improved a lot since college and I’m working on a bunch of new portfolio projects this year so hopefully that might land me a test or someone to notice me and maybe take a chance on me.”- carissadraws

“I thought this would be enough, but my boss called me this morning and I had to go home from the weekend I had planned to fix something (that was my fault, but I submitted it weeks ago without anyone complaining). I’d rather have a low stress job with reasonable hours and something im passionate about than a high-paying job with a corporate culture that sucks the life out of me.” –one_soup_snake

“Just a note of encouragement. Even though you may feel like you have zero achievements, I know a lot of very “successful” people in their 20s who feel just as lost. I think it’s just part of growing up and doesn’t have to do with what you’ve accomplished. Your achievements might not look like what society defines them as but I think that’s what your 20s is about. Realizing what others have previously told you is valuable, maybe isn’t, and not letting those things define you.” –HappyPuff-02

“I know the feeling, but in time you will realize how freaking young 22 is. Society tells us there is a prescribed path of milestones we have to follow to be successful, and that’s totally not true. I fucked around in college for too long and graduated way after my friends, and at the time it felt shitty. After finally graduating, I bartended for years. Just two months ago, I got a real job in my field and things feel like they are on track. Most of my friends have been in their careers for years. And that’s okay! Don’t let cultural timelines make you feel less than. Just take things a day at a time and try to map out what your own personal goals are. Good luck.”- PleasantRequest

“I was married in my 20s so that was a huge fucking waste of time. I left at 29 and began living the life I had hoped to live with him. I travelled, went to museums, hiking, etc. I just did it all. Then I found someone who loved doing those things as much as I did. Now we share this wanderlust together and even future dreams together. We’re having our first baby in august. It’s just another huge adventure and I wouldn’t want to share the journey with anyone else.” –TakethThyKnee

“First, it’s totally natural. Most people go through some sort of identity crisis in their mid 20s and it was very uncomfortable for me. You thought you knew how everything was going to play out and then you get to a point in your life that does not resemble what you were planning. That’s okay! I was mostly concerned about my career so I took a strength finders quiz that confirmed that I was in the right kind of job for me so then it was finding my space in that area. I looked at what I was doing in my life and what was actually making me happy and excited and what was a chore. This proved very hard cause I found joy in few things. (A few years later, I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and ADHD) It also was surprising cause I always thought I wanted to manage people and be the ever-sales person but turns out, I don’t enjoy most people and superficial relationships really bother me. So I pivoted toward what I do enjoy and that caused me to get a new job. It also caused me to evaluate my relationship and living situation. Obviously, it took time for leases to end to get my own place without roomies. My relationship I really tried to salvage and eventually it came to a breaking point. Though I’m single today, I’m much happier than I was then and that’s more important to me. (Also I make significantly more money cause it’s a lot easier to work hard at something you like to do) TL;DR – it’s okay, it happens to most people. Start evaluating what truly makes you happy, what you are good at and start making moves towards that. Results may seem much less exciting than what you thought your life would be but happiness is more important than razzle dazzle.” –youvegotmail90

“I really struggle with not putting so much stock in other people’s opinions (that I don’t necessarily agree with). For example, once you’re in your mid 20s, people on Reddit comment that “30 is around the corner” for you or that you’re “almost 30”. And when I point out how I don’t think that’s true (like you’re not “almost” any age til the very late part of that decade imo), I still see a couple of people coming in and go all, “well AKSHUALLY it’s technically true” (okay? but even if you think 5 years goes fast, it is still a substantial amount of time). Idk…but seeing comments like these makes me feel like I’m getting my time taken away from me. It feels like they trying to force you to feel older than you really are, or it’s almost like they are wishing away your time (cuz I notice it’s usually older people that make these comments). I find it pretty cruel to do, as I see no point in saying things like this to someone unless you wanna pressure them to conform to your timeline or make them feel bad.” –wahwahwhatodoooo

“What you said about you changing your job because you realised it didn’t actually feel right for you is really interesting! How did you become so conscious about what you really enjoy/not enjoy doing in your job? And how did you overcome the doubt that maybe changing jobs is the wrong thing to do? Sometimes I find out things about my self but then I doubt it and just think that I’m probably wrong.” –LaneJones2

“Lotssss of self love – Reminding myself that there is nothing that I NEED to have accomplished by now, and that the things I’m comparing myself to in my friends and peers are not actually the things that I strive towards. Remind myself that the latter half of my 20s and into my 30s will be so much more wise, responsible, financially stable and opportunistic. Started taking my mental health seriously, and am now I’m active treatment. Started FINALLY using social media to connect with my friends, rather than deleting/criticizing Instagram when I become overwhelmed by how much of a highlight reel it was. Also unfollowing/muting people who do not serve me online!!! (Huge). !!!Doing inner child work!!! Moved cities – luckily I was able to but not everyone is. Actively repairing relationships I’ve been avoiding for years. Started giving myself permission to sleep longer, got control of my substance misuse, and left two jobs I despised. Started setting boundaries with men to improve my self worth. Started seeking the advice of women who have powerful, intersectional, well rounded perspectives. Started truly embracing my femininity and working on my internalized misogyny. Became passionate about leftist politics. Started exploring my upbringing to see where I have room to grow from what my family taught me growing up. Started actually setting financial goals (credit score, savings acc), made a plan to go back to school, learned how to start asking for help and advice when my ego normally would’ve got in the way.

When I get overwhelmed by how daunting life is and how exhausting it is to feel so lost, I remember how many cities I can go be completely anonymous in. So many oceans to stick your feet in. So many beautiful faces to see all over the world – this gives me perspective and makes me want to continue pushing through this tough world.

I’m pulling myself out of a 3 year rut, and it’s not easy at all nor is it linear. It’s a lot of discomfort and doing things that might make you feel mean or boring, but it’s true acts of self love. It is incredibly humbling. Connect with people and learn their stories. Eat colourful food and start asking about other people’s lives instead of focusing so much on introspection (not suggesting you do, but I am constantly stuck in my own head).” –Catqueen45

“I’m 43 now and I feel like in the past year (lol my 2020 came with an extra plot twist), I am finally becoming the person I wanted to be. I still have a long way to go.

I wish that I figured it out sooner. But it is what it is.

So my advice:

  • if you are in a hole, stop digging. You may not know what else to do but stopping doing things that aren’t working/or are hurtful to yourself is a huge win
  • learn to trust yourself
  • you learn self-love by becoming more of producer rather than a consumer (producing : art, writing, learning, making stuff like cooking or knitting, experiences like hiking, meeting people and really connecting with them. Consuming : tv, social media, etc) it is not to say consumption is bad but too much isn’t going to move you in the right direction
  • it Is ok to change your mind
  • it is ok to make mistakes and fail : success isn’t about how high you go, but how high you bounce back after you fall
  • take care of your mind and body. In your 20s you can take a lot of punishment with lack of sleep, awful food, too much booze, not enough exercise etc. but blowing off self care will not help in the long run
  • figure out your values. This is morbid but it can help – imagine people taking about you once you’ve died. What do you wish they would say? That you were had hard working? Kind? Funny? Whatever it is try to be those things a little but every day.
  • the world never goes away, you can hide from the world, but it will always take you back when you are ready” –Coraline1599 

“I really struggle with not putting so much stock in other people’s opinions (that I don’t necessarily agree with). For example, once you’re in your mid 20s, people on Reddit comment that “30 is around the corner” for you or that you’re “almost 30”. And when I point out how I don’t think that’s true (like you’re not “almost” any age til the very late part of that decade imo), I still see a couple of people coming in and go all, “well AKSHUALLY it’s technically true” (okay? but even if you think 5 years goes fast, it is still a substantial amount of time). Idk…but seeing comments like these makes me feel like I’m getting my time taken away from me. It feels like they trying to force you to feel older than you really are, or it’s almost like they are wishing away your time (cuz I notice it’s usually older people that make these comments). I find it pretty cruel to do, as I see no point in saying things like this to someone unless you wanna pressure them to conform to your timeline or make them feel bad.” –wahwahwhatodoooo

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