~~ Christopher D'Olier Reeve , (September 25, 1952 – October 10, 2004), American actor, film director, producer, screenwriter, author and activist. On May 27, 1995, Reeve became a quadriplegic after being thrown from a horse during an equestrian competition in Culpeper, Virginia. He required a wheelchair and breathing apparatus for the rest of his life. Reeve lobbied on behalf of people with spinal-cord injuries and for human embryonic stem cell research, founding the Christopher Reeve Foundation and co-founding the Reeve-Irvine Research Center
Who says people in wheelchairs are not capable of being sexy, chic and fashionable?
Definitely NOT Dr. Danielle Sheypuk (Ms. Wheelchair NY) who has been changing that and wants everyone to use words that include folks who are disabled particularly those in wheelchairs. She's doing it in true #disabilityglam style.
After Dr. Sheypuk searched the internet to find "models in wheelchairs," all she was able to get were results on various wheelchair models.
Dr. Sheypuk aims to change all that and wants everyone to participate by including the hastagged terms -- #disabilityglam and #turningdisabilityintodateability in posts as much as possible particularly when pertaining to fashion, beauty, disability, and folks in wheelchairs.
It's never too late to help in #turningdisabilityintodateability and get the momentum going. How can we can help change what displays when people search for "models in wheelchairs?" Let's all start the tipping point with inclusive terms such as #disabilityglam and #turningdisabilityintodateability.
Psychologist and Ms. Wheelchair NYC, Dr. Danielle Sheypuk, will become the first person in a wheelchair to walk the runway at Fashion Week Thursday, February 6th.
Expert, media commentator, disability-rights advocate and fashion model, Dr. Danielle Sheypuk is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in dating, relationships and sexuality among the disabled.
Dr. Sheypuk has special insights and perspectives about the challenges facing the wheelchair community, both in the everyday physical world as well as in the areas of mental, emotional and interpersonal well-being. More information about Dr. Sheypuk is at the official Danielle Sheypuk Web site http://daniellesheypuk.com/
I am very fortunate to say I have met psychologist Dr. Sheypuk while covering various fundraisers and non-profit events. She is a leader, visionary and is paving the way for future leaders in all she does. I feel privileged to know her and to also have the opportunity to get an amazing Q&A from her. See below.
Q. Have you ever modeled on the Fashion Week runway before. Or any other fashion show runway before this event?
A. This is my first time modeling at Fashion Week. I’ve attended a few shows before but have never “walked” the glorious runway! In high school, I was part of a local modeling agency in Scranton PA that did a few fashion shows at the malls in the area.
Q. What does it mean to you to be at such an amazing event and model on the runway at Fashion Week?
A. I feel that this event and the incorporation of a model in a wheelchair is significant progress. People in wheelchairs have such a poor image in our society and that image is starting to crack (and it is a difficult nut to crack, let me tell you!!). To have NY Fashion Week, which can have a tendency to have a rigid concept of beauty, so accepting of a model in a wheelchair is a huge deal.
Q. From a digital perspective, particularly search engines Google and Yahoo for wheelchair runway model search, has any progress been made in terms of inclusiveness? Is there anything we all can do to help in this regard? (Links, hashtags, etc. we can use to help?
A. From my personal use of social media, I find it difficult to feel connected to other groups of people with disabilities and also to feel like I am integrated into the general masses. Now, I confess that I am no expert when it comes to social media but I would love to see more hashtags become popular that link disability with the general media/population. I love the hashtags #disabilityglam and #turningdisabilityintodateability and frequently try to use them in my posts.
Q. You are an inspiration and role model to so many. Is there anything else you are involved with that you would like to share with us?
A. Well thank you and I can say that I do my very best. I live and breathe my mission (frequently using every ounce of energy!!) to improve the dating, romance, and sexual lives of people with disabilities and improve their image in society. I am growing my Skype Therapy Practice where I provide therapy sessions over Skype and I engineered it this way to make it easier for people with disabilities to come to therapy. I also am involved in several media projects. I have an article that I wrote coming out in MDA’s Quest Magazine. It is on the topic of how to date when you need a home attendant. I will also be speaking at the ReelAbilities Film Festival in NYC in March discussing a film on dating with disability. I am also involved in The Raw Beauty Project (therawbeautyproject.com) which is being sponsored by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. I am on the planning board for the project and I will also be a model. Finally, I will be doing an academic conference at The New School for Social Research in Manhattan also on the topic of dating and sexuality for people with disabilities. These are just a few of the items on my agenda. Opportunities pop up all of the time so I'd like everyone to follow me on Facebook for updates!
♦ Dr. Danielle Sheypuk Follow her on Twitter
♦ Dr. Danielle Sheypuk on Facebook
♦ Danielle Sheypuk, Ph.D. Official Web site
♦ AllThingsDigitalMarketing blog
♦ This Week on FM Magazine: Ms. Wheelchair NY Does NY Fashion Week!, CBS
♦ New York FashionWeek Live
All photos courtesy of Dr. Danielle Sheypuk unless otherwise indicated.
Photo of Christopher Reeve with Jane Seymour courtesy of Wikimedia.org; All other photos courtesy of Dr. Danielle Sheypuk and Peter Hurley.
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