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Mja Stæinarr | Blind Beauty Issue #33

Mja Stæinarr

Mja Stæinarr | Blind Beauty Issue #33

I recently connected with lovely Freelance Makeup Artist, Mja Stæinarr, on Instagram. Even though she lives with multiple chronic illnesses and debilitating pain she is passionate about her craft.

Following is a quote Mja typically uses when talking about blindness:

“Blindness isn’t just a lack of vision, or darkness. Despite everything the world knows about blindness, sometimes you need others who understand your darkness to show you how bright and beautiful being blind can be.” ~Mja Stæinarr

Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a mock magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Gorgeous Mja Stæinarr is on the cover with her makeup on point. She has long dark hair, dark eyes, well-defined dark eyebrows and deep burgundy lip color.

Blocks of text superimposed on the photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others”

You can follow Mja on her following Instagram accounts:

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Jayd Alex | Blind Beauty Issue #32

Jayd Alexz image description is in the body of the post.

Jayd Alex | Blind Beauty Issue #32

Image #1 by Jayd Alex | We See More, We Are More. Image description is in the body of the post.
Image #1 | We See More, We Are More.

“A picture is worth a thousand words” isn’t true if you can’t see it. Likewise, painting with words, the skill writers and creatives alike use, can fully engage our senses. There is power in both imagery and words. Marrying the two with image descriptions make stories come alive in the imaginations of people who are blind or visually impaired (VI).

Take for example the 3 images within this post created by Digital Artist, Jayd Alex. Each of her pieces challenges us to view blindness from a different perspective. These gorgeous drawings show the vast spectrum of blindness and how people who are blind might appear.

What I love about Jayd’s art is that it demystifies blindness by showing characters with strength, confidence, and their white canes. Ordinary people who cannot see yet are living their lives independently. Each of the images shows people who are well-groomed, poised, and fierce.

Following is what Jayd has to say about blindness:

“Visual impairments and blindness don’t just present difficulties, they present unique perspectives that deserve to be shared. I hope through my art I can help VI people become more confident in themselves and their abilities, and show our able-bodied society that we have so much to give.” ~Jayd Alex

Image #1 Description:

Black & white partial sketch of a woman holding an identification (ID) cane in both hands. A braid can be seen laying on her right shoulder and she is professionally dressed in a jacket with rolled up sleeves and white cami.

Image #2 by Jayd Alex. Description is in the body of the post.
Image #2

Image #2 Description:

Fashionably dressed brown-skinned woman with wavy burgundy colored hair. She has a blue floppy hat on her head with blue oversized shades, white cold shoulder top with lace details around the shoulders and blue jeans. She is holding her white mobility cane in her right hand and she could easily be a runway model.

Image #3 #SymbolCane by Jayd Alex. Description is in the body of the post.
Image #3 | #SymbolCane

Image #3 Description:

This image is part of a new iPad painting. The image is a stylish white complexioned young woman with pink hair in a ponytail and loose wisps of hair on both sides of her face. She is wearing a purple three-quarter sleeve length top and matching choker with a full black skirt belted at the waist. In both hands, she is holding a shorter identification cane used to indicate she has low vision.

Jayd Alex Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a mock magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Jayd is looking quite lovely on the cover with her fair porcelain complexion wearing brown-framed eyeglasses. She has light blonde shoulder length hair, blue/grey eyes and is wearing a burgundy crew neck sweater.

Blocks of text superimposed on Jayd’s photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others”

To learn more about Jayd you can connect with her on social media:

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Lizzie Capener | Blind Beauty Issue #31

Blind Beauty Issue #31 Featured Image description is in the body of the post.

Lizzie Capener | Blind Beauty Issue #31

Lizzie Capener
Lizzie Capener in blue vintage dress

What does blind look like? When I saw this question along with the photo of a stylish woman with a white cane I had to find out who she was.

The photo of Lizzie Capener I’m talking about is the image to the right of this text. In it, Lizzie is wearing a royal blue vintage swing dress with three-quarter length sleeves and a black sash around her waist. Her waist length blond hair is draped over her right shoulder as she poses with her left hand on her hip and holds her white cane in her right hand. It looks like she’s suspended in mid-air as the image is tilted to the right. The yellow background brings out the white cane, white heels, and blue in her dress. 

What I like about Lizzie’s caption and the photo is exactly what Bold Blind Beauty speaks to consistently. That is, letting go of our assumptions and learning people’s story before forming an opinion. Like many other disabilities, there is a vast spectrum of blindness. Here is what Lizzie had to say about what blindness looks like:

“What does blind look like? Well, this! There are millions of other examples too, just like there are many different forms of sight loss. Did you know that only about 4% of blind people have no vision at all? I’m registered blind, but I still have good central vision. I can still do my makeup, pick up what I need in shops etc, but I need my cane to stop me from having accidents when I’m out and about.

Let’s raise awareness of hidden disabilities and not judge people by the way they look.”

Lizzie is posing on a staircase with her right hand on the railing and left hand on her hip. She is wearing a navy blue strapless gown with a dainty necklace and a bracelet on each wrist. Blind Beauty Issue #31 Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a mock magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Lizzie is on the cover wearing a black and white polka dot vintage dress with a bright red belt and a strand of pearls around her neck. She is holding the end of her white cane like a microphone and it looks like she’s singing.

Blocks of text superimposed on Lizzie’s photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others”

Connect with and/or follow Lizzie Capener on social media:

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Brittany Winner | Blind Beauty Issue #30

Brittany Winner Blind Beauty Issue #30 Featured Image description is in the body of the post.

Brittany Winner | Blind Beauty Issue #30

Brittany will be our featured Woman On The Move on April 3 but I couldn’t resist sharing her Instagram photo with you today. The image was so striking to me because it shows we are making progress in how we perceive blindness. “The white cane is more than just a mobility tool for blind and vision impaired users. It is also a badge of strength and boldness. It allows us to take back our lives, regardless of where we fall on the sight loss spectrum.”

Following is Brit’s quote on Instagram that she posted with her stunning photo:

“Thank you @beenymph and @pinupgirlclothing for this beautiful shot of me. This picture defines who I am at this point in my life. I couldn’t be more proud of the accomplishments I’ve been able to achieve in this last year since I’ve lost my vision. I’ve had an incredible community to help me grow and learn, as well support from my friends and family.

I know this is just the beginning of my journey and I have so much to learn. Something happened that I never thought could, my blindness has given me a gift. By having a disability, it has given me the ability to overcome anything. I know that no matter what life throws at me I will have what it takes to overcome and persevere.” ~Brittany Winner

Blind Beauty Issue #30 Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a mock magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Brittany is on the cover dressed head to toe in black. Her pantsuit is a black and dark gray diamond pattern. She is sitting with her legs crossed in a black director’s chair and the white cane is leaning against the right side of the chair. What makes the photo so striking is the dark blue background which makes the white cane pop. Brit’s long dark hair is draped down the front of her right shoulder. She has a bright red lip and looks all about business as she rests her face on her upraised left fist.

Blocks of text superimposed on Brittany’s photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others”

Connect with and/or follow Brittany Winner on social media:

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Ivana Torbica | Blind Beauty Issue #29

Ivana Torbica Featured Image Description is in the body of the post

“We all have bad days. We all fake it till we make it. And we should not be embarrassed by it. We are survivors and sometimes in order to survive, we have to act like we already did. ” ~Ivana Torbica

Selfie of Ivana, her husband and daughter hamming it up for the camera. Their little girl is wearing an adorable gray koahla bear hat with pink puff ball ears. Ivana and her hubby are both wearing winter jackets and it looks like they are in a cafe or fast food restaurant.
Ivana, her husband, and their daughter.

What I really love about the Instagram community of blind and visually impaired women are posts like Ivana Torbica’s. As a group, we are uplifting to one another yet real. No matter the cause or degree of our sight loss we connect in ways few get to experience. Brought together by a common bond no one wants to go through, we understand the continual ups and downs. 

“I post a lot about how great it is to be a mum and how Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) didn’t change me (at least not in a negative way). I know it must be hard for some to understand or relate, but I just want you to know if it seems easy it doesn’t have to mean it really was.

I would never trade the life I was given for anything else. All the challenges I face helped me grow and develop. Every setback made me try harder and yes, most of the time I would reach my goals. At the same time, I was always realistic when setting goals, just because I knew if I do not smash them I will feel defeated. And in those few rare occasions when I would stay empty-handed I knew I have to try harder.

In this photo Ivana is smiling and she has a bright fucshia furry hood on her head. Her brown hair frames her lovely face. Her winter jacket is black and trimmed in bright fuschia.
Ivana Torbica

Good Times Don’t Last Forever, Neither Do Bad Times

So, no, I am not always super sweet and happy. Certain days I stay in my PJs all day long and that is ok. Sometimes my sweet little baby girl pushes my buttons and misbehaves but she is just a child testing boundaries. Still, to me, she is the most important and the most perfect creature in the world! So, yes, we all face dark times. We all have bad days. We all fake it till we make it. And we should not be embarrassed by it. We are survivors and sometimes in order to survive, we have to act like we already did. “  

Ivana Torbica Featured Image Description:

Featured image is a mock magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Ivana Torbica and her little daughter are on the cover. They are sharing a sweet hug cheek-to-cheek and both brown-haired beauties are smiling. Blocks of text superimposed on Ivana’s  photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others”

You can follow Ivana on Instagram at @retinitispigmentosaevasstory

 

 

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Eileen Robinson | Blind Beauty Issue #28

Eileen Robinson's Image description is in the body of the post.

“Retinitis Pigmentosa is killing my eyes slowly but my heart and soul have never been more alive.” ~Eileen Robinson

In this selfie of Eileen she is wearing a black lace cami under an orange sherbert colored cardigan. As in her featured photo she is wearing dark-framed eyeglasses and her long dark hair frames her pretty face.
Eileen Robinson

Eileen Robinson was so excited when I asked her if she would be interested in being featured on Bold Blind Beauty! Her excitement was so contagious it made the rest of my day. Eileen, aka The Blind Gypsy (her Instagram handle), is so fierce I couldn’t wait to introduce her to you.

Ignorance may be bliss, however when you have a degenerative eye disorder it’s not. Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is killing my eyes slowly but my heart and soul have never been more alive.

I’m just a normal girl (who is animal crazy, loves makeup, and all things pretty) living in this lovely crazy place we call planet earth. I was an ignorant fool before my diagnosis. To put it bluntly, I was vain, always worried about what people thought of my appearance. Funny thing is with RP I won’t be able to see myself age one day, so who cares right? It’s what is on the inside that counts, never judge a book by its cover; all those clichés, which are true.

RP was a blessing in disguise. My mission is to help others who are frightened and don’t know how to handle their condition. Because let’s be honest, having a visual impairment is very scary. You do not know what to expect, as each day is different.

I was diagnosed with RP last year February 2017, I was in denial for a very long time and an emotional mess. However, I have accepted my fate in life now with the help of my awesome fiancé and great family and friends and couldn’t be happier.  I may trip and fall, but I will get up, fix my hair, hopefully, my makeup didn’t smudge and carry on. Laughter is the best medicine. Let’s make visual impairment beautiful.

Love The Blind Gypsy

Eileen Robinson’s Featured Image Description: 

Eileen’s photo is in a faux magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. She is on the cover wearing a gray top and her long dark hair swept over her left eye frames her face. Eileen has on dark-framed eyeglasses and is very pretty with minimal makeup. Blocks of text superimposed on Eileen’s photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others”

You can catch up with Eileen on the following social media platforms:

The Blind Gypsy LogoInstagram: @the_blind_gypsy

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Libby Thaw | Blind Beauty Issue #27

Libby Thaw is pictured sitting at her sewing machine working with a black & white checkered patterned material. Full image description is in the body of the post.

“Everybody, including people with disabilities, makes assumptions. Problems arise when we are not open to learning our assumption was wrong.” ~Libby Thaw, www.checkeredeye.com

My friend and fellow advocate Libby Thaw said the above words several years ago. Today, her quote is still one of my all-time favorites because it speaks to the heart of our humanity—judgment. Libby, founder of the Checkered Eye Project works tirelessly to expand awareness of low vision.

As people we are not immune to making assumptions or mistakes, it’s part of our DNA as humans. Through careful, honest, and frequent self-assessment we can become better people. When we take the time to learn other people’s stories, this is the first step to increasing our understanding.

Libby Thaw Featured Image Description:

Libby is sitting at her sewing machine working with a black & white checkered patterned material. She is wearing a black top and tortoise-framed eyeglasses while her fingers guide the material under the needle. A small portion of her short-cropped salt & pepper sassy hairstyle is seen.

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Ashley Nemeth | Blind Beauty Issue #26

Ashley Nemeth's cover photo is described in the body of the post.

“So how did I judge a beauty pageant, I judged it the same way I judge the world around me. I listened to what was going on, I listened to what they had to say. I listened to how confident they walked down the runway. And I was able to truly get to know them the real them and leave all the superficial things behind.” ~Ashley Nemeth

Ashley Nemeth has been featured on Bold Blind Beauty several times where I’ve shared some of her wisdom in the form of quotes. She is a fierce and tireless advocate who seizes life by knocking down barriers and spreading her message of equity like a champion fighter.

Ashley Nemeth’s Blind Beauty Description:

Featured image is a Blind Beauty mock magazine cover. Ashley is all about business as her fashionably short-cropped blond hair frames her lovely face. In her selfie close-lipped smile, she has pink lip color and rosy cheeks. She is wearing a black blazer over a striking royal blue top. 

Blocks of text superimposed on Ashley’s photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others.”

You can connect with Ashley on the following social media platforms (links below):

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Shaini Saravanamuthu | Blind Beauty Issue #25

Shaini Saravanamuthu's image is fully described in the body of the post.

“The best thing I ever did was come out and TALK about my disability/diagnosis!” ~Shaini Saravanamuthu

Shaini was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. She is an accountant by day and a Sephora girl by night. Shaini loves learning new things and trying new projects, which have led her to several great opportunities and great friendships! She hopes her story inspires others and helps those who may be going through a similar situation.

Recently on Instagram, Shaini talked about her invisible disability, anxiety, and depression that sometimes manifests itself. Since so many of us can relate to Shaini’s message I wanted to share a lightly edited version of her post with you.

Having an invisible disability comes with its share of anxiety episodes! Initially, I hid those feelings because I was afraid no one would understand why I was feeling this way! So every time I was in a new place, I would feel the anxiety working its way up my body!

Depression & Anxiety aren’t the most welcoming conversation in our community, everyone just doesn’t want to accept that it is real and that it can happen to someone they love! This stigma is why I decided to open up about my story. I can now help others and most importantly help keep myself from living a lie!

So if someone you love comes to talk to you about how they are feeling, please listen to them. Help them feel better or help direct them to seek a professional!

The best thing we can all do is talk about it! Raise awareness and help get rid of the stigma around Anxiety & Depression!

Shaini Saravanamuthu’s Blind Beauty Description:

Description: Featured image is a Blind Beauty mock magazine cover. Shaini’s long dark hair covers her shoulders.  She is wearing a bindi (a gem worn on the forehead between the eyebrows) and pretty bright fuchsia lip color. Shaini’s vivid lip color exactly matches the small exposed portion of her fuchsia garment. She is wearing a long gold earring can in her right ear. 

Blocks of text superimposed on Shaini’s photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others.”

Shaini can be followed on Instagram: @shinez_

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Emily Metauten | Blind Beauty Issue #24

“Here is a friendly reminder that not all disabilities appear the same!! I only really use my cane situationally, so that means I’m walking around without it most of the time.” ~Emily Metauten

Emily Metauten is standing with her white cane in her right hand and cell phone in her left taking a selfie in a full-length mirror. She is wearing black jeans with holes in the knees and a black crop top. A long brown sweater completes her outfit. Her hair is a bright pink or orange.Introducing Emily Metauten a freelance makeup artist/licensed cosmetologist based in the Boston area. 

A lot of people act very surprised when I disclose my disability to them, some people don’t even believe me. I get odd looks and a dismissive point when I ask for help finding something. I’ve gotten the “I think you need new glasses!” comment too many times when I’m struggling to read something very close to my face. I’ve even been stopped/grabbed by cops when I use my reduced fare metro card/charlie card on the train.

Please don’t ever assume someone’s status (disability or health-wise) based on the way they look! Yes, people with vision loss (or any disability) can dye their hair, wear funky clothes, do their makeup, express themselves however they please. Shocker, right?

On a similar note, I’ve built up a lot of insecurity about using my cane in public – so here is the first picture I’ve posted ever with it. This is also a friendly reminder to myself that I don’t have to hide who I am to fit into other people’s expectations of me.

Emily Metauten’s Blind Beauty Description:

Featured image is a mock magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. A close-up of Emily is on the cover looking absolutely fabulous. Her hair is dyed pink and her makeup is perfectly coordinated with her hair color. With her winged eyes and matte lip color, she is the epitome of a fashion model. Emily is posing with her chin lightly resting on her left hand.

Blocks of text superimposed on Emily’s photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others”

Connect with and/or follow Emily Metauten on social media:

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Brittany Winner | Blind Beauty Issue #23

Brittany Winner's Blind Beauty cover description is in the body of the post.

“I’ve been legally blind for ten months now!” ~Brittany Winner

Identical twin, Brittany Winner, of The Winner Twins is a multi-talented person. She is an author, teacher, artist, and CEO of a nonprofit. Here’s my favorite: she is a magician in training.

As frequently happens, I stumbled upon this stunning photo (featured image) of Brittany on Instagram and I had to meet her. After I introduced myself we talked a little about Bold Blind Beauty and she told me about her sight loss. Getting her permission to share this post with you made my day.

Brittany’s caption posted on Instagram:

“This picture is of me going to my very first event blind. I was SO nervous and scared to tell my friends and family, but I was determined to keep having a wonderful life regardless of my vision. That night I went to the Magic Castle with @jpendragonmagic @briannawinner @todd_mccaffrey @dianawolfemagic!! Thank you for this wonderful memory!

It gave me hope that I would get back on my feet again and I did!”

@blindnewworld’s caption is perfect: “Sometimes all you need to feel confident is a little black dress – and a little white cane.”

New to blindness, I’m heartened to see Brittany thriving. We are among the ranks of many others who are working to shift stereotypes about blindness.

Brittany Winner’s Blind Beauty Description:

Featured image is a mock magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Brittany is on the cover wearing a black dress with a v-neckline and full skirt. She is holding out the skirt with her left hand and her white cane in her right. Her long dark hair is pulled away from her face and she has oversized sunglasses, red lip, and a pretty black & white necklace. Black pumps complete her ensemble.

Blocks of text superimposed on Brittany’s photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others”

Connect with and/or follow Brittany Winner on social media:

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Chrissy Antonopoulos | Blind Beauty Issue #22

The full description of Chrissy Antonopoulos' photo are in the body of the post.

“Nope you don’t have double vision, this is what the Spotify app looks like when you have large font on iPhone.” ~Chrissy Antonopoulos

Screenshot of enlarged text overlapping in a music app. The list of music is white text on a black background.Chrissy Antonopoulos is the founder of the non-profit, See Through My Eyes. She has completed two degrees from the University of Sydney in Applied Science and Clinical Trials Research. Additionally, she has received a Graduate Diploma in Psychology. 

Chrissy has also been a featured guest here on Bold Blind Beauty.

Oftentimes when we talk about accessibility in the disability community we seldom see what it looks like in the real world. In the screenshot provided, you can see how the magnification causes the text to overlap. This is a problem a lot of people with low vision face in many applications.

“It’s so frustrating when apps aren’t accessible. I use Spotify every day and I can hardly ever see what I’m doing and it gives me headaches trying to decipher the text because it is tiny and overlaps. It would be lovely if companies valued our dollar as much as others and made their services accessible! 2018 should be the year of making EVERYTHING accessible!” ~Chrissy

Chrissy Antonopoulos’ Blind Beauty Description

Featured image is a mock magazine cover titled Blind Beauty. Chrissy Antonopoulos and her guide dog Lacey are both smiling for the camera. Chrissy’s long dark hair is pulled back from her face with a headband. She’s wearing oversized sunglasses and a lavender colored tank top.

Blocks of text superimposed on Chrissy’s photo are: “Bold | She Keeps Pressing Onward,” “Blind | She Has Deeper Insight,” “Beautiful | She Sees To The Heart Of Others”

You can connect with and/or follow Chrissy Antonopoulos on the following social media platforms: