Life

Growing My Instagram Account to Break Down Disability Barriers

If you’ve visited my personal Instagram account (@amy_c_evans) lately, you would have noticed that I’ve experienced a significant spike in the number of people following me. This wasn’t intentional but it did make me focus on why I do post on Instagram. At the core, I not only to share my life and fashion but try to break down the stereotypes of what it’s like to have a rare physical disability. Seeing as I have a little bit more time on my hands now, having completed my university degree, I decided to take my Instagram a little bit more seriously and focus on growing my account in the hope of breaking down those barriers!

I joined Instagram way back in July 2015. While my fashion sense and knowing my photographic angles has definitely improved, the reason for posting has largely stayed the same. I love the creative process of taking a photo, editing and then putting my (now) marketing degree to use through creating a caption and hashtag. It’s a creative outlet and a way to connect with a like-minded community. While likes and comments are nice, I don’t post for this reason (because life isn’t about likes), I simply post because I want to.

With a focus on growing my account though, I have started to think more about what I want to post and what my followers want to see, with fashion and disability being my most popular type of post. This feedback from my followers has really helped me decide which direction to take my account in. At the end of the day though, I want an account that is authentically me and something that I proud to show anyone.

This growth has been a slow burn, but there was one reel that ignited the fire and sparked my realisation that my account can have a positive influence on disability stereotypes. It was my “You’re Welcome” reel that got the ball rolling. I saw the audio by @itskatejanmaree pop up on my feed and I thought that would be cool as a body positivity reel (because a misconception is that disabled people don’t love their bodies). I was at the races in a dress I felt confident in, so I said to my support workers, lets film this reel. Embarrassing myself in public is still something I’m getting used to, but the video made my mum and I laugh, so I posted it. I put some thought into the hashtags and captions, but I still wasn’t prepared for the response though!

I posted it on May 16th and to date the reel has reach over 383,000 accounts with 1483 shares and 111 saves! It still blows my mind. I have to thank Alex Dacy (@wheelchair_rapunzel) for sharing the reel too, as I think I had around 50 new followers when I woke up the next morning, which was huge for a little account like mine. With such a large number of views, I did prepare myself for the trolls to come (because I have been trolled in the past), but surprisingly, 99.9% of the comments have been positive. I think I had one guy say “eww” but I was like seriously if you’re not going to say something nice at least put a bit more creativity into it! To everyone that did support my reel though, thank you!

With this growth, I have found myself to be more confident. While my pictures have always made it appear that I’m confident, it was only the other week that I spoke on my stories for the first time. My speech has always been something that I’ve been self-conscious about, but I was like stuff it, I’m just going to talk on my stories. I’ve truly embraced my sexy elephant look too. As I write this, I guess that’s another reason why I want to grow my account, so that I can grow as a person too.

Where do I go from here though? Well, I’d love to work with some big fashion brands to help increase their inclusivity on social media (Review, Myer, Colette, Jay Jays and Lovisa if you’re listening!). By increasing the visibility of disabilities on accounts like these, it continues to break down those barriers. Once big brands include disabled people electric wheelchair/vpap wearing people, the sky is the limit! Maybe you’ll see me on the cover of Vogue (one can only dream)!

For now, though, I’m just going to keep being me, but posting a little bit more consistently (I have to practice what my digital marketing business preaches). I’ve got a reel planned and some posts up my sleeve, so I’m sure that if I’m excited about my upcoming content, my followers will be too. Of course, there will still be the usual horse racing and fashion posts, because that side of Instagram really is my day-to-day life. Hopefully, by sharing my life with a growing number of followers, it will break down those disability barriers!

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