Fashion Friday - Jenny Brackenridge

Jenny is wearing an entire set from the Meridian line
Jenny Brackenridge is quite the accomplished DiversAble Model! Her identity is not in her limitations, but in her abilities. I'm honored that she shares her heart so openly. Read her story:

"My name is Jenny Brackenridge and I live in Glen Head, NY. My Diverse Ability is called Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and I use a wheelchair for mobility.  
I am the youngest of four children,  two older brothers, Craig and Steven, and an identical twin sister Krissy, who is typically able.  Krissy and I were born 3 months premature, exactly 1 minute apart.  I am a proud Aunt to my 14 year old nephew Trey and 4 year old identical twin nieces, Jenna and Kara.  I have a Scottish terrier named Gracie, after Gracie Mansion.  I earned Associate and Bachelor Degrees in Behavioral Sciences with a concentration in Psychology, as well as a Master of Sciences Degree in Mental Health Counseling, Master of Professional Photography Degree, and I currently hold Teacher’s Assistant – Level I Certification.  My current job is as a Head of Group Counselor at Uniondale Community Council.  
 I LOVE to travel!  In 2001, I traveled to Ireland as part of the Irish – American Youth Team via The NYS Games for the Physically Challenged.  In 2007, after taking a few Art History and History of Photography courses in College, I was inspired and had an overwhelming desire to visit Rome, Italy. I loved Rome so much that I returned in 2008, additionally traveling to Florence / Milan, Italy and also stopped in Zurich, Switzerland. 
In every aspect of life, I’ve overcome the pressure of adversity.  Everything that I do feels like it’s multiplied, because I have always felt that typically able people have a greater advantage over those with disabilities.  The physically disabled person has to surpass the able – bodied person from the start so that the playing field can be somewhat equal.  I have had moments where I felt like giving up, but then I realize that it’s not within me to do so and more importantly, I do not have a desire to be a failure.  This held especially true when I was obtaining my Master’s Degree.  My Professor / Advisor did not believe that I deserved the degree, attempting to do everything in his power so that I would not graduate.  Despite his efforts, I graduated!
This project is important to me because we can be real with ourselves and specifically, embrace that our bodies are not perfect, but then again, nobody’s is, disabled or not.  Essentially, this project allows people with Diverse Abilities to showcase their inner / outer beauty and accessorize it.
In terms of fashion, I am fortunate that despite my body’s structural issues, I am still able to dress in much of the latest juniors’ styles.   There are some body types that are difficult to dress due to disability (e.g. loss of a limb) and designers should keep that in mind.  If the disabled consumer doesn’t have to experience fashion limitations, it may increase self - esteem / image and that would hopefully lead to a more progressive fashion forward society.
People, especially children who have had little or no exposure to people with physical disabilities, don’t realize that it is often hard to explain different disabilities and the challenges that they present.  Sometimes the visualization of a disability makes people stop and think about their own lives and makes the whole concept of what it means and all that it entails to be disabled a little easier to understand, rather than just hearing the words or reading them from a book. With the right amount of courage and tenacity, people with disabilities can be successful, productive members of society.  The message is simple: Disabilities are part of life, but they in no way define who a person is."

Thank you Jenny! You have been one of my biggest supporters thus far and I look forward to continuing our partnership to push this movement forward <3

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