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My TED Talk: ‘Blitzing the fashion industry’

As an inaugural member of the TED Residency program, I am thrilled to express TED’s commitment to elevating the disabled voice. If you have an big idea and are interested in becoming a TED Resident, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Continue Reading →

Inspiration Ain’t Free

In Fact, It May Just Have Cost Us The Election

For the first time in history, thanks in part to #CripTheVote and an empowered community, disability made its way into the election. We were included by Hillary’s campaign and mocked by Trump’s. But 48 hours have passed and if you read Harry Reid’s statement on ‘The Election of Donald Trump’, you’ll realize disability is already long forgotten. Continue Reading →

Women vs. Hysteria No More…

I am supporting Jennifer Brea’s ‘Canary in a Coal Mine’ documentary.

I hope you will too.

I don’t have a best day of my life (there are many). But I sure as hell have a worst day. And it’s not the day I acquired my illness. The worst day of my life happened 265 days later. At the Cleveland Clinic. In the office of a renowned Neurologist. A distinguished man who carried himself like my dad. The entire day felt like a trick. I had gone home to the Cleveland area for the holidays. My parents and I thought a visit to this doctor couldn’t hurt. We could not have been more wrong. It hurt the worst. He told me directly that I was faking my illness. And for a moment, perhaps because he looked like my dad, my parents believed him. I tried to believe him too. Continue Reading →

Four Years Ago Today, I Fell Out of Bed.

Today is the four year anniversary of when my chronic illness began. And to celebrate, I am going to respond to this letter:

“Hi Liz,

Bijan Mawji and I are Facebook friends on a group for Entrepreneurs with Chronic Illnesses/Disabilities. I wrote him because as my health worsens, I need to transition out of my current careers (acting and teaching acting) and find something a little less punishing. He sent me your link and suggested I write you.

Continue Reading →

On Loss & Resilience Through Design

My life no longer looks like it did just a few short months ago. My partner of a decade and I are separating. We were trying for a baby. That dream has been recategorized into the ‘hopefully someday’ bin. My home, no longer mine. I now live a few blocks away. But it’s not just this separation. My security blanket is moving not only to a new town, but to a new country. My insurance situation has taken my beloved neurologist from me, I simply cannot afford the deductible. And moreover, I cannot see my psychologist as I had previously been able to. At a time when I need her more than ever. Things feel dire. And when things feel dire, my body begins to fail me. What I thought was a cavity is actually an infection that requires surgery. I threw my back out. Dropped my computer on my foot. And little things that I previously would have brushed off feel very big. Life is not easy for Liz right now. Continue Reading →

How You Can Heed Stevie Wonder’s Advice and Learn Braille Today

“We need to make every single thing accessible to every person with a disability” Stevie Wonder

There are many ways to make the world more accessible. I preach nearly all of them. But tonight I was sitting on my couch, watching the Grammy’s while across from me sat a pile of children’s books. Written in braille. Continue Reading →

BREAKING NEWS: There’s A Gold Wheelchair On The Cover of Interview Magazine!

It only took 82 years, but Everest and Jennings, the designers of the first (and only) collapsable wheelchair, have finally managed to grace the cover of a prominent fashion magazine.

Interview Magazine features conversations between some of the most creative minds from the worlds of fashion, art and entertainment. This month’s cover features a beautiful gold Everest and Jennings wheelchair, ridden by an unidentifiable human like creature. Continue Reading →

Donna Karan’s 7 EASIER Pieces

1985 was a big year for Donna Karan. Her seven easy pieces line changed the fashion industry and empowered the lives of women in the generations since.

I like to think 2015 has been a big year for me. Through my advocacy I have built a model that I call ‘Inclusive Retail’. I believe products made sensitively for impairments will change the fashion industry and empower the lives of people with disabilities for generations to come.

Donna Karan’s ‘Seven Easy Pieces’ line gave millions of women quick and affordable access to an entire wardrobe. To many women, these seven pieces felt like freedom. The items included a pair of tights, a bodysuit, the classic white shirt, a pair of versatile trousers, a cashmere sweater, a tailored jacket and a skirt.

It recently occurred to me that it is possible curate seven easier pieces. And I can’t wait to share with Ms. Karan how, with a little extra consideration, her seven easy pieces can quite literally work for any body. Continue Reading →

INTRODUCING: The Inclusive Design & Fashion Collective!!

Chapter 1: My Story

I started this blog back in 2013. You may already know my story and how I awoke one Sunday, falling out of bed and into the hospital. That was the day I discovered that my ugly hospital gifted cane was called an “assistive device”. That term was new to me. Also new to me? My inability to find a cane that felt like ‘me’ even though I was able to find the perfect pair of eyeglasses. This lack of choice and lack of thoughtful design means many people don’t use the products they need because they are stigmatizing. Falls lead to more preventable deaths than you may know

I’m a young, fashion conscious New Yorker who has accomplished many things while being disabled (many of my accomplishments are because I’m disabled). And it seems so obvious that I should want a beautiful and functional cane that reflects my personality and aesthetic. Quickly after starting my blog, I decided I would do everything I could to de-stigmatize assistive devices. I wanted the fashion world to include me and my disabled peers. Early on, I chose to focus on my favorite store, J. Crew. I have spent the last three years asking them to sell a beautiful cane because they often feature and sell eyeglasses. J. Crew has been nothing but unresponsive to my idea. But amazingly, I have found people who are incredibly responsive, because they themselves are also trying to de-stigmatize the products and fashions people with disabilities request and require.

Continue Reading →

What You Need To Know About Jenna Lyons’ Watermelon Skirt

The story below was written by Jenna Lyons and can be found in Lenny Letter. It is a self reflective piece called The Watermelon Skirt that Lenny Letter explains “takes us back to the moment Jenna, who lives with a genetic disorder, realized the power of clothes to initiate self-transformation’.

I hope you will read this story through the lens of a campaign called YesJCrewCane. I have spent the last three years asking Jenna Lyons and J. Crew to sell products made sensitively for people with disabilities. It is my belief that ‘Inclusive Retail’ will line the pockets of retailers while saving countless lives.

J. Crew simply won’t do it.

I hope your blood boils when you read this story. It feels unjust. Continue Reading →

HOLY SHIT. I’m losing my ACA Marketplace Insurance Plan in 30 Days.

I am one of 200,000 New Yorkers who recently discovered my Health Republic plan is going under in 2016. I’ve been scrambling to find a new plan that covers my doctors.

About Me: I am a disability advocate. My advocacy aims to ease the stigma of products used by people with disabilities. I believe a reduction in stigma will save countless lives. I am also a trained Navigator and will be spending a better part of November volunteering for Community Health Advocates helping my fellow New Yorkers understand their marketplace options… yet I cannot seem to navigate my own healthcare situation. I have written frequently about my healthcare experience, mainly as a means to shout from the rooftops that I need help. Continue Reading →

The Aesthetic of Disabled Art

My friend Anthony is a brain cancer survivor. His son Aedan has Down syndrome. They are both artists who just debuted their first art show ‘Difference Frequencies’.

Upworthy picked up my post on them, it’s one of my all time favorite posts. I hope you will click RIGHT HERE so you can check out the story.

And to Aedan and Anthony, thank you for the honor. You two are changing the construction of disability through your incredible pieces.

My Health Insurance Just Shut Down Operations. I’m Scared.

Do 200,000 New Yorkers deserve “Shut Down Subsidies” as recourse after losing their Health Republic insurance network?

In November of 2013 I wrote about my experience navigating the New York State Marketplace. The process was too complicated but I was so excited when I finally settled on a plan. I believed I had done my research and asked the right questions. And I had. But it hasn’t been easy. Continue Reading →

I Used To Work For Ellen DeGeneres

Now I’m Asking Her To Work With Me To Achieve Inclusive Retail

Dear Ellen,

It has been nearly a decade since I last worked for you. I was your production assistant. I picked up your lunch. I ran your errands. I even once spilled black coffee on your white rug. In my time with you I roderollercoasters, wore a Baby Bjorn mounted hidden camera, discovered paparazzi, laughed my ass off, was brought to tears hearing Annie Lennox warm up, and toured a post Katrina New Orleans. In the years that I worked at The Ellen DeGeneres Show I discovered Los Angeles, met my partner of a decade, and came out of the closet to my parents. The impact this time in my life had on who I am need not be underestimated. Through you, I learned the importance of being my most authentic self. I learned if I lived my truth, society will find a way to embrace me. All of me. Continue Reading →