Our Interview with Stephanie Aiello

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Steph

Stephanie Aiello is a makeup artist, a childcare teacher, a mentor, an Ulta Beauty model, and a video blogger. She is a social media influencer, amassing 111.2 k followers on Instagram and 20.8K subscribers on YouTube. Stephanie is also the co-captain of the Rollettes Dance Team, which is a group of women empowering women to live without limits and shift perspectives through dance. She is also an ambassador for Wings for Life World Run; the run promotes research projects and clinical studies around the world to find a cure for spinal cord injury.

In her early twenties, Stephanie was involved in a life altering car crash. Subsequently, Stephanie became a C6-7 quadriplegic. After months of rehabilitation, she was able to gain sensation in half of her back and had limited ability to move her hands. Stephanie was excited to leave rehab, her parents picked her up, and they proceeded to a family Christmas event. However, as the family left the rehabilitation center, Stephanie found herself in another car accident. A drunk driver crashed into the car her family was in, leaving Stephanie and her dad with injuries, and her mom with more severe damages to her body. Shortly after the accident, Stephanie was also diagnosed with cancer.  

Stephanie miraculously survived two car accidents and her cancer diagnosis. Her resilience during these trying times motivated her to pursue her love of makeup.After practicing and learning as much as she could, with the help of her occupational therapist, Stephanie decided to take a chance and start an Instagram account to show off her makeup skills. Her social media popularity and the help of a friend, Stephanie earned a spot at Beauty Con. Beauty Con is a massive convention for all beauty aficionados to gather and share their love for the beauty industry. It was at Beauty Con that Stephanie met supermodel Tyra Banks. Tyra invited Stephanie to the Tyra Banks beauty convention, where Tyra spoke highly of Stephanie and her beauty skills in front of a large audience. Stephanie disclosed to the audience that she did not share her disability with her social media followers, but instead chose to hide her hand function. Tyra explained to Stephanie that, “her hands would become her brand and to keep pursuing her love of make-up.”

Interviewed by our founder and president, Alexandra Nicholas, Stephanie explains singlehandedly that disabilities do not have to keep one from following their dreams. Stephanie discusses her “normal” after her recovery; she demonstrates to Alexandra the modifications that help her apply makeup and other beauty products. Stephanie also shares with Alexandra the importance of the strong and supportive familial bond that she has with her parents and her twin sister. Through Stephanie’s optimistic, but realistic viewpoint, she encourages differently abled people to be more accepting of their own difference and live in the moment. Stephanie shares her journey to encourage and reassure others with or without a difference to push through whatever challenges they are facing.

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