“I grew up always wanting to model and act, but I was always told it wouldn’t be an avenue for me.”
Women of color find that brands haven’t always taken the initiative to represent them and their dollar when it comes to marketing and promoting their products. It always seems to be more of a hassle, and now that we’ve become more visible in marketing and branding, the only place we can go from here is up.
Our Funky Junky Feature for this month is one of those women. Tatiana is a gorgeous, thriving model and actress living the life in Los Angeles! She has booked jobs with several major companies, and has starred in short films and videos stretching across the internet.
“… because of my disability.”
Not only is she excelling when it comes to her career goals, but Tatiana is goals, PERIOD. She moved from her hometown, Coatesville, Pennsylvania to L.A. in 2010 and hasn’t looked back (boss move, literally). She was also born with Spina Bifida, a birth defect that impacts the spine and spinal cord. She uses a wheelchair as her main “mode of transportation.” What some could view as a hold on their success or to define them, Tatiana uses as a propellant, everyday. She didn’t see women in the beauty or entertainment industries with disabilities when she was growing up, so even at a young age, she chose to be the change she wanted to see.
“I always felt a need for representation of someone who looked like me growing up, so I’m now fighting in my career to be the change I want to see in mass media,” she said. “When I moved to L.A., I felt so out of place, so I started sharing my story and advocating for more representation of people of color with disabilities through my blog, Accessible Hollywood.”
Super cute name, right? Accessible Hollywood allows readers to take a behind the scenes look at Tatiana’s life and journey to stardom. She talks about all she’s worked on and jobs currently in the works. In 2017, she was hired as talent for a commercial and marketing advertisements promoting accessibility for Apple, and even held her own Today @ Apple session on Discovering Your Best Selfie. She also took on a brave and beautiful lingerie campaign with Parfait Lingerie, which she credits as one of the first lingerie brands that has hired a woman of color in a wheelchair for a campaign.
In addition, she sports natural curls that also came about during the process of her big move to follow her dreams. She’s required to take medicine for her disability that essentially dries her hair and skin, so she found relaxing her hair just wouldn’t work anymore. She changed her lifestyle, moved, and even became a part of a natural hair group, LA Curly Girls (where she eventually discovered our Curly Magic Curl Stimulator, and deems it her fave gel for wash ‘n gos)!
“I cut off my hair when I had a nervous breakdown right before I hopped on a plane and moved to LA and I never looked back,” she said. “I like that it makes me stand out (since I can’t stand up) and I’ve always loved curly hair, but I was always told my hair was too kinky to wear it natural.”
One thing we can definitely learn from Tatiana is that when people tell you you can’t, you push through and do it anyway. We’re proud to feature women like her and are very excited for her fun, fabulous future. Be sure and follow her on Instagram, @mstatilee!