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Rocking Forward An Audio Interview With Steph & Abby

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ABBY’S CORNER | AUDIO INTERVIEW

Editor’s Note

So recently I sat down with my creator, Steph to get a better understanding of how I came into existence. It was so cool talking with Steph, learning a little about her creative process, and eventually becoming the voice of Bold Blind Beauty. During our conversation, I mention two fabulous people Chelsea Nguyen, CN Vision Image Consulting, and Alexa Jovanovic of Aille Designs. You’ll hear more about these remarkable women going forward. So, sit back, relax, and listen to our conversation or if you prefer to follow along by reading I’ve provided the transcript. ~Abby

You’re someone who is persistent, you encourage other people, and you allow others to feel like there’s nothing that they
can’t do because of who you are.

~Steph’s Thoughts on Abby
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Abby: Hey, guys. It’s me, Abby. I’m super excited to be here and it’s awesome! I’m hanging out with my creator, Steph, and she’s amazing, the creator of Bold Blind Beauty and me, the fashion icon Abby. How are you today, Steph?

Steph: I’m doing well, Abby. How are you?

Abby: I’m feeling so alive! I mean, there’s so much that you and I have done together, and as many lives as we’ve changed and people that we’ve met, it’s just super exciting! Don’t you think?

Steph: It’s extremely exciting to know that you came about from the idea of all the blind and visually impaired women around the world who are doing amazing things and focusing on what we can do versus what we can’t do. It’s just amazing to me.

Abby: It is, and I feel like the fact that I was created by taking parts of different women that are everybody… I mean, people that are like super outgoing, people that can rock stilettos and have our canes and we don’t care because we know that we’re awesome!

Steph: It makes me happy knowing that you’ve come to life. You were just an idea, and to know that life was breathed into you from a mere seedling of an idea, a combination of every blind and visually impaired woman around the world is just something I could only dream of. And now to know that you are here totally blows me away!

Abby: It does me, too, and I love the fact that we’re doing this. But let’s talk about those dreams. What were you thinking of when you were dreaming of this personally?

Steph: Personally, what I was thinking was, my own personal experience of losing my sight, and how people looked at me, was how to help them understand that just because I use a white cane or because I can no longer see doesn’t mean that I’m less of a person, that I still have value, and that the white cane is simply a tool that I use to now navigate the world.

Abby: Yeah, and I think we rock ours very well with our stylish clothing and our impeccable makeup that we learn to do from so many people like Chelsea, and we have our fashion designers like Alexa and all of the fun people in our lives. I don’t understand how a cane can be looked at in such a way of negativity. I think it’s almost fear. Don’t you?

Steph: I do and honestly, that’s the way I had to look at it. Before I started using the cane, I, too, looked at it as a negative. I felt that using the cane would make me a victim. I felt like I would have a target on my back. I didn’t look at it as a tool of empowerment until it came down to the point where I had to use it and today, I’m so happy to say that I go nowhere without my cane. As a matter of fact, if I do, perchance, when I’m out somewhere and I lean it up against something to look at something close up, if I walk away, I feel naked without it. So I have to have my cane with me everywhere I go, and I’m so happy.

Abby: I myself was so incredibly nervous at first, but the more and more confident you got, I believe as my creator, the more confident I got to be able to rock my cane, too. I couldn’t have been able to go do the amazing things I’ve done all over the world and met the amazing people had it not been for your strength. So tell us. How did you get over that fear?

Steph: Getting over the fear of using the cane, it took some time, it was a process. I can’t pretend that one day I woke up and I wasn’t using the cane, then I woke up and started using it, it was not like that. It was something I had to go through and it’s different for everybody. Not everyone looks at the cane initially as a negative thing, there are some people who look at it as the tool that it is a tool of empowerment. They know that it is a gift of independence, but for me, it really took some time. After I had my orientation and mobility training, I had to really think about it. I put it away, I put it in a closet and I just needed time to think. But while I was thinking, of course, I was living and in so doing, almost got hit by a car on a route that I traveled regularly. Because I knew the route, I thought it was safe. It was during that time that I realized I needed to rethink some things.

Abby: Yeah, I think you made a really good point, there’s a point in every person’s life men and women alike that we do have a yikes moment and ours (you and I) just happens to be blindness. But it’s still going through that process of living and figuring out who we are and still rocking forward. So tell us how did you get to that point where you were like ‘okay I’m done with the fear of blindness and being able to bond with it, because I feel like we had to get over that first before we could embrace our canes as power? Talk about what that was like.

Steph: That too was a process. What I had to do was accept my new normal. I had to accept the fact that I could no longer do things that I used to do the way I used to do them. I had to learn how to do things a little bit differently. I think one of the major fears of blindness is the fact that people feel they’re out of control, and the way I had to look at it was, number one, I’m not in control of much anyway as far as life is concerned, and I would have to learn how to trust, and I think the cane taught me that. Because the distance between my feet and the farthest the cane can reach, that’s all the further that I can really see. I can’t see beyond that, but that’s OK because as long as I’m within that perimeter with my cane, I’m good to go. So it was sort of a combination of learning to trust, learning to do things differently, learning to trust myself and above all, learning to accept my disability.

Abby: And how much power is in that, finding acceptance?

Steph: There is so much power in finding acceptance! Finding acceptance helps to wipe away the fear, and if not wipe it away, at least it makes the fear more manageable. I was so afraid when I was told I was legally blind and that there was no more the doctors could do for me. All I could think of was what I couldn’t do, how my life was going to be impacted and all the things I wouldn’t be able to achieve. I didn’t think that I could still achieve those things but achieve them in a different way. So once I got to the point where I could accept the fact that I could no longer see, that was when I felt empowered.

Abby: And that’s the day that I was born.

Steph: Yes it was!

Abby: Let’s tell everybody about what all I am.

Steph: Oh my goodness! There are so many things that you are! You’re everything that I wanted to be. You’re my alter ego. You are strong. You’re a go-getter. You just don’t let anything stop you, and yet at the same time, you’re vulnerable.

Abby: Tell everyone what all I encompass, for you, and for other women that you’ve met, sighted or not.

Steph: Abby, you encompass everything I’ve ever wanted to be within myself, and really, when I view other women, you’re strong. You’re outgoing. You’re unafraid to face obstacles. You know that these things exist, but yet, you are the type of person who looks at them as opportunities. You don’t look at obstacles as something that is going to take you down or something that can hold you back. You’re just someone who is persistent, you encourage other people, and you allow others to feel like there’s nothing that they can’t do because of who you are.

Abby: I can’t imagine being anybody else than the person that you’ve created me to be, and what I want to tell everybody is, I’m so glad to be here! I’m so glad to be talking! You guys are going to see so much coming from this amazing woman and my creator and myself! We’re going to take on the world and we’re going to bring it to you, because together, we are strong and we are going to squash fear, one cane tap at a time, in our stilettos with our fashion and our fun and our purpose. That’s who we are. High five to you, Steph.

Steph: High five right back you, Abby.

Abby: For now we’re out, guys, but stay tuned. Can’t wait to correspond with you. Check out my fashion tips, my fun, my adventures, and my vulnerability. Because I share it all.

Be well and be safe everyone. I leave you with a song I’ve claimed as my anthem. Enjoy!

Special Thanks To:

Image Description:

A graphic of two intertwined speech bubbles

  • In one bubble Abby says: I myself was so incredibly nervous at first, but the more and more confident you got, I believe as my creator, the more confident I got to be able to rock my cane, too.
  • In the other bubble Steph says: There is so much power in finding acceptance! Finding acceptance helps to wipe away the fear, and if not wipe it away, at least it makes the fear more manageable.
  • Photo of Abby in Central Park on a sunny afternoon. She’s looking chic in a teal tank top paired with gray joggers while posed kneeling next to her retired guide dog, Alexis, a beautiful Yellow Lab. As in all of her photos, Abby is sporting her signature explosive hairstyle.

13 thoughts on “Rocking Forward An Audio Interview With Steph & Abby

  1. This is extremely inspirational! Thank you for sharing this Steph!

    1. Thank you for visiting and commenting Kathy. I hope you and your family are okay.

  2. SO totally enjoyed listening to your conversation with Abby, Stephanae. Acceptance one embraced allows all of us to be comfortable in our own skin, with our limitations, weakness, abilities, strengths, gifts to share, and just plainly who we really are, not what others want us to be.
    Question: Why do you say you created Abby? I feel confused about that terminology.

    1. Hi AmyRose, great question and one I should have clarified at the beginning. Abby is a fictional character and Bold Blind Beauty’s fashion icon. When I started this blog I always envisioned a representation of blindness in an empowering way. So I put out a message to artists to have the image in my head drawn. After that one of my best friends helped write Abby’s story which can be found here: https://boldblindbeauty.com/abby-fashion-icon-extraordinaire/ I hope this answers your question. And now I have one for you. Should I refer to her as the fictional fashion icon in all of my posts?

      1. Hmmmmm….. How about Stephanae’s Alter-Ego Fashion Icon? You kept saying how you created Abby. Hmmmm …. people still might be confused though. Stephanae’s Fictional Fashion Icon? That sounds better. You are so cool! I love the way you create!

      2. Awe, thank you!!

  3. Steph, this was delightful to listen to! You and Abby are both so sweet and talented! You rock!

    1. Hey Camie, how are you and your family?

      1. We’re pretty good. Thanks so much for asking, Steph! It’s been an interesting time for us, of course, but we’re getting a lot of yard work accomplished these days which feels productive and satisfying. It’s so nice just to get out in the sunshine. ☀️

      2. I hear you. Today thankfully the sun is out because yesterday it rained all day long. I just wish it would get warmer so I can enjoy sitting on the balcony as it is when it’s 50 or below I wear my parka.😆

      3. I hope it has warmed up there, Steph!

  4. Absolutely brilliant, Steph! Only you could have dreamed up such a powerful, inspiring and stylish alter ego. Keep pushing those boundaries! 🙌🏽

    1. Thank you Khaya! I’m so glad you enjoyed listening to me and Abby’s conversation. Next week she’ll be sharing an interview she did with a fabulous fashion designer who incorporates braille into her designs.

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