I feel like my posts have been a bit heavy lately, so I thought I’d mix it up and share five people who use a wheelchair that you should follow on Instagram. Not only is this sharing the love in these unprecedented times, but they are accounts you can scroll through when you’re looking for something to do.
Now I will note that this list doesn’t include people like Dylan Alcott. While he is someone who I love to follow, most Australians are already aware of him. For this reason, I tried to include accounts that are run by people who you might not have heard of before. Plus, I couldn’t list everyone I follow who uses a wheelchair, because that list would just be too long.
Tess Daly (@tess.daly)
Two reasons to follow: Makeup and Humorous
Tess is literally one of my favourite people to follow on Instagram. She has a killer style and sense of humour, plus it makes me laugh when she teases her support workers (because I can totally relate).
Tess has SMA (spinal muscular atrophy) and is a fashion and beauty influencer from the UK. With over 210,000 followers, she’s worked with brands like BooHoo and Pretty Little Things. She also recently featured in the Rimmel London “I Will Not Be Deleted” campaign.
If you love makeup, then you definitely have to follow her. From natural eyes to bold lips, she’s got a tutorial for you. As someone with a disability, I’ve learnt a few tricks along the way that have helped me apply my makeup better, so I’m sure you will too! Her outfits are sure to give you some inspiration as well.
However, the thing I love about Tess is her honesty and appreciation for her followers. She always tells things as they are, so you’ll be sure to get an honest review of products and an honest insight into her life. Her interaction with followers is amazing too and something that all influencers should take note of.
Alex Dacy (@wheelchair_rapunzel)
Two reasons to follow: Honest and Unapologetic
Alex has managed to find the perfect balance between humour and being a disability advocate. She’s honest and bold with her content which is something I love.
Alex was also born with SMA and lives in Chicago. After not being able to get a job after she graduated with a degree in rehabilitation services counsellor, she started her own clothing business. It aims to spread awareness of disabilities, which is something she’s passionate about.
If you want to know what it’s like living with a rare disability, then follow Alex. She’s not afraid to tell it how it is or what it’s like during the hard times. From needing support workers to accessing basic needs to dealing with online trolls who make nasty comments about her disability, she covers it all.
However, the thing I love about following Alex the most, is how she’s the perfect modern-day disabled advocate. She jokes about her relationship status and how she’s just like everyone else. Her fight for getting people with disabilities treated equally on social media is also to be commended. Some days I wish I had her type of bravery and was as unapologetic as she is (haha I would never post a naked picture of myself).
Jillian Mercado (@jillianmercado)
Two reasons to follow: Fashionable and Breaking Barriers
Jillian is paving the way when it comes to people with disabilities in the fashion and modelling world! While advocating for those with disabilities, she continues to prove that we’re just like anyone else.
Jillian was born with a form of muscular dystrophy. She was the first model in America to use an electric wheelchair (that I’m aware of). She’s done campaigns for Diesel and Target and recently walked the runway in The Blonds’ fall 2020 collection in New York Fashion Week. She also started in the remake of the tv show “The L Word – Generation Q.”
If you love someone with attitude, then follow Jillian. She stands up for what she believes in but also for others. The outfits she gets to wear as part of her modelling career are also amazing. Her account is also insightful in to what it’s like to work in the model industry with a physical disability.
However, I love following Jillian mostly because I love her style of advocacy. She often uses her platform to raise awareness of issues, such as wheelchairs being broken on aeroplanes. Furthermore, I love what she’s doing in the model industry, by breaking down the barriers for those who follow.
Sophie Bradbury-Cox (@fashionbellee)
Two reasons to follow: Colourful and Stylish
Sophie runs an account that will literally brighten up your day. Full of colourful clothing, you’re bound to find some inspiration.
Sophie also has SMA and lives in Northampton. She’s married to husband Nathan and they recently welcomed a little girl, Zyra, into the world. She created the account to prove that people who use a wheelchair can still look stylish and I believe she’s well and truly achieved that goal.
If you’re looking for something to brighten up your feed then follow Sophie. Her clothes are always so bright and colourful, and the matching backgrounds are impressive (like I don’t know where she finds so many perfect backgrounds). Her feed is full of outfits that you can put together no matter where you live and at a reasonable cost
However, while I love following Sophie because of her bright and colourful clothes, I also love how she shows everyone that people with disabilities can look just as stylish. In fact, why fit in when you were born to stand out. Her Instagram feed is also something I aspire to replicate! I’ve also really enjoyed following her journey into motherhood, as she talks about things that non-disabled mothers don’t experience.
Jason Clymo (@mylifewithwheels)
Two reasons to follow: Insightful and Refreshing
Jason is only someone I recently started following but I’m loving his content. If you’re looking for an account from a male perspective, then this is the account for you.
Jason is the only male and manual wheelchair user on my list. He suffered from a spinal cord injury in 2014 which left him a paraplegic. However, since the injury he’s gone on to become a model, signed with Winks models, modelled for Target and been featured in Stellar Magazine. He’s also an ambassador for Starting with Julius, which advocates for people with disabilities to be better represented in media and advertising.
If you’re interested in knowing what it’s like to acquire a disability as opposed to being born with one, then follow Jason. It’s interesting to see how just one small difference can really change how a person sees the world now versus before their injury. I think it’s really important for males to be open and honest about it too, which Jason often is, including what it’s like to live with a spinal cord injury.
However, the thing I love most about following Jason is his personal insights. He talks about his own thoughts and feelings about what it’s like to be disabled but also how people react in the world around him. As I follow mostly females with a disability, it’s refreshing to follow someone like him.