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“They brought me in because the fashion market is saturated with designers who want to make beautiful luxurious clothes.But I say, do something different, look at the populations that aren’t yet designed for.” She’s not a proponent of clothes and products specially designed for people with disabilities, but rather for creating design solutions that are more universally viable.She acknowledges that Nordstrom does use some women in wheelchairs in their advertising, but points out that disabled people are a 0 billion-dollar industry and are still virtually ignored.If Danielle has her way, they won’t be for much longer.On an industry-wide basis, Danielle is changing the way designers think about product design.In a recent talk she gave at Parsons School of Design, she discussed disability and the concept of universal design.She knew if she could win, it would be a platform for her to start talking about her topic publicly. Wheelchair New York at which he totally freaked out, and brought nurses in to get autographs.She laughs about the absurdity of this, but she’s fully using it to her advantage. She knows the combination of having a Ph D and also being a beauty queen is interesting to people. I want to change the image of people with disabilities into an image that’s cool and glamorous and chic,” she says.
When the time came, she expressed her difficulty finding a boyfriend, and the group leader’s advice was simply that it was going to take a really long time to find someone. “It was demoralizing.” Shortly after, while still in grad school in early 2012, a friend told her about the Ms. It was the first time she had heard about anything that combined ‘glamor’ with ‘wheelchair. She once told a doctor that she was completing her Ph D and received little reaction until she told him she was Ms.
She treats all types of issues–including situational anxiety, work stress, bipolar disorder and depression–but her specialty is in dating, sexuality, and relationships.
Growing up, Danielle realized there was a discrepancy: she felt normal but never got asked on dates through high school and college.
They decided to have Danielle model in her New York Fashion Week show. Danielle and Carey hadn’t realized they were making history: Danielle was the first model in a wheelchair ever to grace the Fashion Week stage.
Next thing she knew she was doing the morning show circuit, preaching her gospel of glamour on a macro level.“Seeing me as a model wearing fashion, looking great is inspiring,” she says, then self corrects, “Actually I hate the word inspiring.” Above inspired, she just wants people with disabilities to feel integrated. Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean your life sucks.”Far from it.