May 25, 2024

Shelby Lynch Is GLAMOUR’s Self-Love Cover Star

It wasn’t until one of my very first shopping trips with my grandma, Carmen, that I was given an opportunity to make this choice for myself. When I was 11 or 12, she put some money in my hand and told me to choose what I wanted.

This was time I spent bonding with my grandma, but it was also an opportunity, finally, for me to express myself through what I wore.

Clothes are not only fun for me, but they’re an area in my life over which I also have control. Building outfits and looks and putting different pieces together had absolutely nothing to do with my Disability or hospital appointments. I have always wanted to use my clothes and fashion to stand out. When you are Disabled, it’s like people only know you for your Disability.

It wasn’t until I left education that I began to treat myself to shopping sprees and trips outside of Leeds, where I live. It was during a trip down to London with one of my best friends from school that I did a massive shop at Missguided. I got reposted by the brand, and it kind of sparked my social media following.

«Clothes are not only fun for me; they’re an area in my life over which I also have control. «

So far, the media attention from mainstream media has been positive. I have been able to educate and engage people with not only my specific Disability but what it is like to be Disabled generally. A couple of months ago, I had a live TV experience on the Channel 4 programme Steph’s Packed Lunch. It was a friendly environment, and it was so nice having my dad in the background there to support me, as well.

On the other hand, it has been a mixed bag with social media. With millions of views on my TikTok account, it gave me an insight into how genuinely bold some people can be to people who look like me.  At times, it can be rather cruel, to the point where I even received a death threat. This was completely different to the loving upbringing that I had. Thankfully on my Instagram account, it is much more supportive and a really affirming space with my followers checking in on me, making sure that I am OK and feeling that sense of community as well. It’s something that I really value and don’t know what I would do without it.

This all happened while we were going through the lockdown, and many Covid-19 restrictions were still in place. Once restrictions started easing, I had the chance to meet some of the community I’d been a part of online and we’ve been able to attend events together, such as the Purple Goat party and the Scope Awards.

I have had many meaningful relationships in my life that have positively impacted me, such as my family and friends. One of my best friends will be getting married in a couple of years and throughout the planning of the occasion she’s making sure that it is accessible, and I will be able to celebrate her fully on her big day. That means so much to me, as I often miss out on things because they are inaccessible. Having a friend that is checking everything, even down to getting me a corsage so that I would have flowers on my hand. It just showed me a different and new way of being loved and considered.

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