I am Ivory. I am a woman. I am black. I am disabled. And I am Confident. I am self-love.
I'm Ivory. I'm a black woman with a disability. Since I was a little girl I had the dreams of being someone - seeing my name in lights. It didn't happen as I planned, and now I'm on the road of bringing awareness to the "black disabled and proud movement" in the beauty community. I used to always say I would be "the first black, plus model with a disability". And as I inspired the makeup community with my art, my life has been full of fashion and art.
But we are a family of fashion. OMG I was definitely influenced by "thrifting", which at that time wasn't the it thing to do.
My mom at an early age would dress my sister and up like dolls - big fluffy dresses with the ruffle socks and patent leather shoes to match. Oh how I loved the compliments of how pretty I looked. But being a "tomboy" I would always get dirty. My mother hated that. My grandmother would say how "even my play clothes were fancy." I chuckle about it now.
By the time I was in high school, I had to flex.
See, now in the United States, most schools require students to where a uniform, but in the 90s it was free rain. So those "thrifty" clothes couldn't cut it.
Growing out of the dresses into more of lose hoodie suits with the newest sneaker to match. At this time patent leather red and black Jordan's or even the Grant Hills. I had every pair. Windbreaker outfits swishing down the hallway, pull over jackets with your favorite team on them in the winter time, gold chains, rings. All influenced by the music of that day: Tupac, Biggie, Queen Latifah.
I also knew with other schools merging into this High School and having to be asked about my hand, I HAD to be dressed to impress. And my mother worked hard to provide that for me. Although she hated too, my mother understood that high school makes or breaks the self-esteem. Especially when this is the time teen hormones are raging. But I've always loved the boys.
Dating with a disability has never been an issue. But I will say although I dressed nice, got good grades, I still did get picked on. So although boys thought I was pretty, they couldn't risk getting joked about being with me. So I was a secret in school. I never had a public boyfriend in school. And honestly, it wasn't an issue because I would get attention outside of school. I have a great personality so I attracted like minded people. Outside of school, I had respect. My hand wasn't a joke. Feeling protected in such a way, feels amazing. I honestly hate how the high school years can really make or break a person. I'm blessed to have had a mixture of experiences to reflect who I am and why I diligently will bring light to myself. My life in complex but it wasn't full of despair.
Times were different. And now with the age of social media and online interactions, you can really reach masses. I love to express myself with fashion and makeup. The ability to invoke how I'm feeling today by using fashion takes away from my condition.
I'm even more comfortable with sexy lingerie shoots. Because believe it or not, disabled individuals love sex too. And we want to feel sexy.
That's my mission now, to have people realize we are all human no matter what race, gender, or physical differences.
Now as I work my way into the Beauty Community I'm here to set a standard of beauty for all people. I find that the world still sees people with disabilities as "circus freaks" as if we are just an accessory to the industry. Physical disabilities are very important to the beauty, fashion, and art community because we want to feel, be, and forget the ailments that might be hindering our self-esteem.
I also want to show the black disabled community that we have a voice as well.
Everyone wants to be a voice to the world and be taken seriously. I find my confidence in being the change society needs.
It's not easy but it is me. I am Ivory. I am a woman. I am black. I am disabled. And I am Confident. I am self-love.