It is difficult to leave a conversation with Auti Angel and not feel motivated and deeply moved. As a boldly stylish and confident woman, Auti illuminates any room she enters.
“I was born to be different and that is where I found my self-love.”
Self-love is a sensational topic in the world today. While many people struggle with not fitting in to the standard definition of normal, Auti Angel has found love and power in everything that has made her different. Including her wheelchair.
“Dance to me is my miracles!”
A natural performer, born and raised in California, Auti launched a professional dancing career at age eighteen. When Auti was twenty-two years old she was paralyzed in a car accident but that did not stop her dancing and performing careers. Careers that would lead her to open many doors for women and girls in chairs.
“People didn’t know how to believe in anything like me so I had to show them how to receive and believe in me.”
Auti admits that there were no other hip hop wheelchair dancers to pave the way for her. Instead, Auti had to forge her own ideas of what it meant to be a female hip hop dancer in a wheelchair and make that a reality. And she did just that. Auti has danced with Ludacris and LL Cool J. She has made music videos. She founded the world’s first wheelchair hip hop dance group.
“I paved my own path because I know who I am, but it was up to me to show others who I am and what I am capable of.”
Auti Angel was one of four women whose lives were chronicled by the American reality television show Push Girls, a show that followed the lives of four women in chairs and displayed the amazing and yet normal lives they live. The show displayed women in wheelchairs as never seen in such detail on television before. Viewers were able to see real women in wheelchairs who have successful careers, friendships, dating and sex lives, and live life to the fullest.
As a woman in a wheelchair, I can undoubtedly say that growing up it was difficult if not impossible to find images that reflected myself in the media. Woman in wheelchairs were not the stars of television shows or movies or faces in magazines. Woman in wheelchairs were not openly celebrated as dancers. There were no articles to explain love and sex and dating as a teenager on wheels.
Push Girls meant everything to me. Seeing Auti Angel and Chelsie Hill and the three other incredible women on the show was life changing. Although I always strived to live a both normal and extraordinary life despite my chair, I did not have anyone I felt was paving the way. Not until the show aired.
“Push Girls gave me a platform to share with others how to be bold, to overcome, to persevere, how to be a goddess, a queen.”
And if, perhaps, Auti had to be described in one word, I would say it is queen. She has found her deepest passions. Raising up other women. Dancing. Spreading love. And she has thrived. Auti is truly the opposite of being bound.