Photo Credit: sundance channel
Sundance’s new show, The Push Girls, is a powerful new series following a group of women with amazing spirits and a message anybody can relate to. iVillage sat down with two of its stars, Mia and Angela.
iVillage: What do you hope to accomplish with this show?
Mia: There are a lot of misconceptions and stereotypes and I hope we can use awareness to cure ignorance. I hope we show female friendship in a positive light and that we can stick together and not tear each other down. Women get their true power by bonding together.
Angela: I want to educate, inspire and remind people that you have to enjoy life to the fullest because tomorrow is not promised.
iVillage: Did you have concerns about being part of the show when you were approached?
Mia: I’m a very private person. But, I had to be willing to put myself out there in order for us to accomplish this mission.
Angela: With Gay Rosenthal Productions and Sundance we had that feeling of family. I’m an open book. I don’t beat around the bush -- I just go and yank the bush out.
iVillage: Has this experience affected the way you view beauty?
Angela: As a model before my paralysis, I was in the gym three hours a day trying to be perfect, and it was never enough no matter what I did. Now my legs are atrophied, my arms are very thin, I have a “quad belly.” But, I’m more comfortable with myself because I accept how I am. My husband said to me that in L.A., you can give any woman a million dollars and she can look flawless, but see if she can truly shine in a difficult situation and be who she is in a positive manner -- that’s true beauty. Every woman has that beauty within them. We are amazing and we can decide how we feel about ourselves no matter what the circumstance.
iVillage: Mia, on the show you talk about feeling like your whole body had turned against you, how has that affected your relationship with your body?
Mia: When you are paralyzed, you are reborn physically. I had to learn how to sit up, transfer to my chair, get in the shower. As soon as I mastered those, I felt like myself again. Being physically fit helps me feel confident.
iVillage: What is the biggest misconception about people living in wheelchairs?
Mia: People feel like the chair is something that’s depressing to us or our biggest hurdle. It allows us to be inspirational and show that every person has obstacles that are overcome-able. Don’t be afraid! Come up and ask questions! We’ve heard it all so you’re not going to offend us.
Angela: People feel like our life ends the moment we get paralyzed. I am an ambassador for the Christopher and Dana Reed Foundation -- doing minority outreach. We want to make sure that people understand that our body is a temple for the soul and just because I can’t sashay like I used to, just throw me in the wheelchair and I’ll take on the world. Brain on wheels! You look at someone and think "Oh, they’re probably miserable because they can’t walk." But it’s okay and I hope that I can educate them.
iVillage: What would you tell someone who is newly paralyzed and learning to live with a chair?
Mia: Life may seem over, but it’s actually just starting! Your life is going to be just as fulfilling now as it would have been. Plus, you have an amazing gift to help open the world up a little more.
Angela: Not to lose yourself -- acknowledge that you are still living. Life is a gift and what we do with our life is a gift back. Be grateful for what you do have.
Push Girls airs Mondays at 10pm et/pt on Sundance Channel.