Chelsey Jay, a 23-year-old woman from Essex, England lived the first 20 years of her life as an able-bodied person. Then, everything changed.
She developed the neurological condition postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. POTS is a rare condition that affects blood flow, causing people afflicted with the syndrome to experience an increased heart rate and significant drop in blood pressure when changing their physical position, such as when standing up.
For Chelsey, POTS causes her to faint when she stands up, and the symptoms have become so severe that she now must use a wheelchair whenever she goes out.
“It all happened absolutely out of the blue. One minute I was working, rushing about and getting on with things, and the next thing I knew I’d fainted,” Chelsey said.
Before her diagnosis, Chelsey was studying to become a nurse, and modeling part-time. “To suddenly become disabled, gave me a real wake-up call. I realized how rarely disabled people are represented in the media, and I began to feel isolated.”
In an effort to try and change the lack of disabled actors and models featured in the media, Chelsey wants to show the film, music and fashion industries what they’re missing.
“No one should feel shut out from the modern presentation of beauty.”
Today, she is a disabled model and an ambassador for Models of Diversity, a campaign and organization calling for more diversity in media. “You can’t airbrush out a set of wheels or a limb that’s missing. I’ve created this video to show that disabled people are perfectly capable of fitting in with the industry. These industries need to embrace disabled talent, not exclude it!”