Beauty, YouTube, and Disability

LEENA PATEL

During the past few years, I have started watching a lot of beauty channels on YouTube. One channel that I watch often is Jordan Bone’s. She is a 26-year-old British YouTuber with over 180,000 subscribers. What makes her so unique is that she is a tetraplegic and she doesn’t let that stop her from doing what she loves. A tetraplegic or quadriplegic is an individual that has lost feeling in both arms and legs as a result of a spinal cord injury. Her journey to becoming such a successful beauty channel has not been an easy one. She highlights her struggle in a video released about two years ago explaining why she can’t move her hands making her makeup techniques different from someone who isn’t a tetraplegic.

Her strength and determination have amazed me and I admire how hard-working she is. After randomly stumbling onto her channel a few years ago I decided to explore other YouTubers who are not held back by their disabilities.

JORDAN BONE

Jordan Bone not only creates videos related to beauty but also about fashion, lifestyle and positivity. When talking about her disability she also raises awareness to road safety. She became a tetraplegic at fifteen years old after a car accident. At 23 years old she released a video talking about her story and then went to a group session where she told young drivers how she was permanently placed into a wheelchair. Mainly her videos are focused on beauty and lifestyle but once in a while, she does bring awareness to her accident and how others can make safe choices when on the road.

Her channel: JordanBone89

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MANDEVILLE SISTERS

Another YouTube channel, I have recently been watching are the Mandeville Sisters. They are also from England and have over 100,000 subscribers. Amelia (20) and Grace (22) began their channel about three years ago and have made videos as well as a blog about lifestyle, fashion, food and travel. Grace was born with only one hand, where her other arm was foreshortened, which means her arm was not able to develop properly. Therefore, her right arm ends just below her elbow. Grace has made a few videos addressing having only “one hand” as she usually refers to it. She has repeatedly told viewers that she is able to do all the things anyone without a foreshortened arm is able to do. She even goes as far as making a question and answer video where she was asked how she ties her hair or holds heavy objects. In response to these questions, Grace humoured her viewers by showing them that it’s not a struggle for her to tie her hair or open a package. Younger sister, Amelia, has scoliosis, which they also talk about in a few videos.

Their channel: mandevillesisters

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MOLLY BURKE

Lastly, I came across Molly Burke’s channel, a Canadian YouTuber with about 46, 000 subscribers. At the age of 4, she was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa a disease that causes severe vision impairment. She is also an activist and motivational speaker who has spoken on behalf of the blind community at many We Day events around the world. Her message to her audience (which are usually young students) is that any challenge in life can be overcome whether it’s bullying, mental illness or vision loss. Her videos range from topics surrounding her disability to beauty and motivational videos.

Her channel: MollyBurkeOfficial

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What all three of these channels have in common is that disabilities don’t define a person and there are ways to move beyond them. It’s interesting to see the different approaches that these empowering women take to shed light to their disability and how they have proven to overcome them. Also, a message that rings true for all three channels is that it’s okay to be unique and what makes someone different should not define them.

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