Sundance Channel's new reality show, Push Girls, follows the lives of Tiphany, Auti, Mia, Angela and Chelsie. Five women who don't let the fact that they are paralyzed and in wheelchairs stop them from doing anything they want to do.
After five minutes of watching the show you realize that their chairs are just an accessory, much like earrings or a purse. (Okay, maybe that's a bad analogy, but you get the idea.) Their chairs do not define who they are. They are five women who face life's challenges with a positive attitude. The girls can do just about anything, they may just do it a little differently.
I cheered when Auti won first place in a ballroom dance contest competition. It was my favorite episode featuring Auti. It was so cool that she competed against able-bodied dancers and won! She had been a professional dancer before her accident. Auti taught herself how to do hip-hip dance moves in her chair and created a wheelchair hip-hop dance team called Colors 'n' Motion. The group puts on shows to raise awareness and show what people with disabilities can do. She had a role in the independent film, Musical Chairs, and is working on a CD. She calls herself a diva because she likes to take charge but, in my opinion, Auti is diva with a heart of gold.
Unlike the other girls, who became paralyzed in car accidents, Mia became paralyzed when a blood vessel ruptured in her spinal cord. Before she became paralyzed Mia was a competitive swimmer. . My favorite Mia moment was watching her compete in a swim meet. Watching Mia achieve her goal of competing again was so thrilling. I was on Team Mia, shouting "Go Mia" as I watched. It didn't matter what place she finished in, what mattered is that she did it. Mia also went kayaking on a date. She was and is fearless. I cannot wait to see what sport Mia conquers next!
Tiphany attended her high school reunion which happened to take place on the same day as the anniversary of her accident. I think it took tremendous strength and courage for Tiphany to return to her high school and face her classmates. Then she had the courage to drive by the site of her accident and have all the feelings and emotions connected with that day come to the surface again. It was something she knew she had to do so she could move forward with her life. It was very emotional for Tiphany and her dad. I cried with them. I applaud Tiphany for allowing cameras to film such personal scenes.
Since her accident Chelsie speaks at school assemblies about the dangers of drinking and driving. She has been interviewed by Seventeen Magazine. Chelsie also loves to dance. She would like to attend college and study communications and business. Her accident happened just over two years ago and the girls offer her support and friendship as she learns to deal with the challenges of her new life. My favorite episode featuring Chelsie was when the girls went high heel shopping with her. Just because you're in a chair doesn't mean you can't still be fun, sexy and feminine. Whatever Chelsie does, I know she has a bright future ahead of her.
Angela had a lucrative career in modeling before her accident. Her dream was to return to modeling. There aren't many calls for models in wheelchairs. One agency Angela called told her she could come in. When asked if they were accessible they told her the agency was accessible. The agency's idea of accessibility included a staircase. Angela didn't give up. Her tenacity paid off. On the season finale Angela flew to New York to do a photo shoot for a national campaign for Nordstrom Department Stores. Angela's success is a perfect example of why you should never give up. With determination you can achieve your dreams.
It took me a long time to finish this blog. Everything I wanted to say sounded cheesy. I wanted to say more than I love Push Girls and everyone should watch the show. I love it because the girls support each other. They are there for each in good times and bad. Push Girls shows that disabled people want the same things that everyone wants. To be accepted, to be loved and to be thought of as people first and disabled second. As the girls say, "If you can't stand up, stand out."
Thank you Tiphany, Auti, Angela, Mia and Chelsie for letting us into your lives. Season one was awesome. I can't wait for season two.