Kristen DeAndrade is living proof that perseverance prevails. Born with achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism, she is a woman on a mission to erase barriers and eradicate stereotypes. A newly published author of her memoir, Little Legs, Big Heart, Kristen gives people an opportunity to learn about and change the dialogue surrounding dwarfism. Her story is relatable to the vulnerability and insecurities we all face.
Currently residing in West Palm Beach, Florida, Kristen is an avid yogi, loves to get creative in the kitchen, and vows to never stray far from the ocean. She is an advocate for inclusion and her passionate causes, supporting patients and their families from The Paley Orthopedic & Spine Institute, various online support groups and beyond.
Believing that disability is only a state of mind, Kristen shares her journey of living in the face of adversity with anyone who needs reminding of their own indomitable will through her writing and motivational speaking. She has appeared on the TEDx stage as well as several national television programs and networks including The Learning Channel and CBS Sunday Morning News. She is a contributor for The Mighty and has also been featured on Refinery29, Women’s Health, Huffington Post and Mind Body Green.
Being authentic and open about life’s hard little intricacies and the power of connection is Kristen’s call to arms, for those around her who are also stared down by hardship. Kristen states, “It doesn’t matter how long your legs are, you can only take one step at a time.”
Interviewed by our Different & Able President and Founder, Alexandra Nicklas, Kristen talks about her life with achondroplasia, her love of yoga, and her advocacy work. She discusses her motivation, at twelve years old, to have limb lengthening surgery and her struggle with the recovery that came after that procedure. Kristen speaks of her positive experiences, powerful thought processes, and encourages others to “eliminate the curiosity.” She shares that in order to validate one’s story, one must have the “darker conversations,” educate others, and break down the negative stereotypes that often come with living with difference.