That Paralympic Show returns for another series

Have you been watching That Paralympic Show? In a countdown to the 2012 Paralympics, Channel 4 are now airing a second series – yeah! A lively and refreshing look at everything Paralympic, the show follows athletes through training and participation in a range of Paralympic sports.

That Paralympic Show - Ade Adepitan and Rick Edwards - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

For those not familiar with Paralympic sports, the show gives a unique ‘insight into the unbelievable ambition and talent of Great Britain’s Paralympic athletes‘. The show, presented mainly by Rick Edwards and Ade Adepitan, has a light-hearted, fun feel to it, in the style of T4. Hopefully, its cool approach to Paralympic sports will encourage youngsters, and everyone really, to get involved, whether that be participating or watching. I know I’ll be glued to the TV in 2012!

So watch out for silly costumes, fun challenges and some very sexy athletes! Visit 4oD to catch up on previous episodes and for more information.

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April 7, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Sport. 1 comment.

New Channel 4 documentary about disfigurement

Starting tonight is a new four-part documentary named Katie: My Beautiful Friends, which hopes to challenge the way society views disfigurement.

Katie, who was facially disfigured by an acid attack in 2008, first appeared on TV in the documentary Katie: My Beautiful Face. Having grown to accept her disfigurement, she is turning her attention to helping others.

Katie Piper - Katie: My Beautiful Friends - image - inspiremagazine.wordpress.com

Katie: My Beautiful Friends follows Katie’s journey over the period of a year as she sets up a charity aimed at transforming the lives of those living with disfigurements, giving them the confidence to accept their abnormalities.

There seems to be a disfigurement theme on Channel 4 at the moment as this follows the series Beauty and the Beast, a show trying to change the ways of a collection of beauty-obsessed people.

Tune into Channel 4 tonight at 9pm to see Katie: My Beautiful Friends, and check out this interesting article I found about a 13-year-old boy who is proud of his facial disfigurements.

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March 22, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Entertainment. Leave a comment.

Blind photographer in new Nokia advert

I don’t normally pay attention to phone adverts, but the new Nokia TV ad for the N8 smartphone camera caught my eye as it features blind photographer Gary Waite.

Talking about his experiences with photography and capturing the world around him, Gary demonstrates how “being blind and using photography opens a door to the rest of the world.” He uses his other senses, such as sound, to capture moments, like the movement of a rollercoaster above him.

At the age of 49, Gary has only recently become a photographer, thanks to the encouragement of the charity PhotoVoice, which help people with disabilities to find their own way of communicating and representing their view of the world. Having become blind 10 only years ago due to the eye disorder retinitis pigmentosa, Gary has found a new sense of self through photography.

But enough of me waffling on, check it out for yourself!

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March 4, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Inspiration. Leave a comment.

Wheelchair user joins Hollyoaks cast

Last night saw the arrival of the latest Hollyoaks cast member, Peter Mitchell, a wheelchair user who will play the new headteacher, Pete.

Peter Mitchell - Hollyoaks - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Peter became paralysed after a car accident in 2002, and has only since gone into acting. He has previously appeared in the mockumentary Cast Offs playing Dan.

Although from last night’s episode it’s apparent that there is some sinister back story haunting this new character – supposedly he has a grievance with Brendan – it’s not clear  whether this will centre around his wheelchair. According to Peter “he has a very strong character from the get go” – so let’s hope they don’t focus on his disability.

Pete is not the Hollyoaks first character in a wheelchair, Hayley Ramsey, played by Kelly-Marie Stewart, was a formidable and feisty character back in 2009, who left after the actress became pregnant.

Oh, and I’ve found two interesting interviews with Peter, one on the Channel 4 website and the other on BBC Ouch!. Enjoy.

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February 22, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . Entertainment. Leave a comment.

Aimee Mullins becomes a L’Oreal Paris ambassador

It seems that all I’m blogging about at the moment is Aimee Mullins! Well there’s a reason for this, not only is she an athlete, model, motivational speaker and double amputee, but she has now been appointed the latest global ambassador for L’Oreal Paris.

Aimee Mullins - L'Oreal Paris - image _ inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Aimee has always campaigned to change society’s views on disability. Becoming involved with the L’Oreal brand has given Aimee the opportunity to impress upon the world how a disability is only what you make of it, that you can still be successful, strong and beautiful; ‘sometimes we need to remind ourselves that [it’s] worth celebrating all parts of ourselves and all facets of ourselves… it’s the complexity of who we are as people that makes us beautiful’. Everyone is worth it!

Watch Aimee behind the scenes at a L’Oreal shoot, and go to L’Oreal‘s site to see her talk about her life.

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February 21, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Inspiration. 1 comment.

Inspire recommends… The King’s Speech

After seeing The King’s Speech on Wednesday, there is just one word I can use to describe it – brilliant.

The King's Speech - Colin Firth - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

I’ll admit that before watching the film I knew nothing of King George VI, (played by Colin Firth) who is the current Queen‘s father. I certainly wasn’t aware that he struggled through his public life with a stammer, not ideal for someone required to frequently deliver speeches to the world.

Knowing he may have to take the throne, which he did after his older brother abdicated, King George VI sought the help of speech therapist Lionel Logue. I won’t spoil the story for you, all I’ll say is that this was an overwhelmingly touching account of the very personal problems of a very public figure.

The King's Speech - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Although stammering is not commonly seen as a disability, the film highlights the physical and emotional impact that it can have on a person. I don’t know if it was Colin’s acting talent, or the clever camera angles, but I felt like I was transported into King George VI‘s world, able to feel his every emotion and understand the pressure and fears that he faced.

It was the relationships King George VI had that pulled him through and gave him strength. The acceptance, patience and encouragement of those around him  – something I think we can all learn from. I hope that the film helps to shed light on this issue, which many deal with on a daily basis.

I’d love to know what you think, email me at inspiremagazineuk@googlemail.com, or comment via Facebook or Twitter.

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February 11, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Entertainment. Leave a comment.

New documentary Beauty and the Beast

This week my Wednesday night was spent watching Beauty and the Beast – no, I’m not talking about the Disney film, but a new six-part series on Channel 4, which looks at the ‘ugly face of prejudice‘.

The first episode saw 49-year-old Leo, who has had third-degree burns on his face since the age of 14, try to convince unconfident beauty addict Yasmin that attractiveness is about more than just false eyelashes and blusher.

Beauty and the Beast - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

We also saw Adam, who has facial disfigurements due to the condition neurofibromatosis, challenge the advertising world, and British public, when it comes to portraying images of perfection. He even goes as far as recreating the iconic Beckham advert for Armani underwear.

With a staggering, but unsurprising, 9 out of 10 women in the UK being unhappy with their appearance, the show aims to break down barriers and challenge opinion on what is beautiful.

Watch the last episode on 4oD, or tune in next Wednesday (9th February) at 9pm to see the next instalment.

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February 6, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Entertainment. 1 comment.

Aimee Mullins – I might just be her biggest fan!

Mention Aimee Mullins and I could enthuse about her all day! Aimee is a double amputee who has broken records as an athlete, has modelled and acted, and is now an activist encouraging society to rethink its entrenched views on disability.

Aimee Mullins - Matthew Barney - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

I’ve blogged before about a talk Aimee delivered on TED discussing adversity and the meaning of the word disabled.

But I recently found this new video named Aimee Mullins and her 12 pairs of legs, which was prompted by her experience when presenting to a class of young children about her disability. They had been encouraged not to stare at her or ask about her legs out of politeness. But this was the very nature of what she aimed to achieve, to allow the children to explore what they might not understand, something key to changing the way everyone views disabilities.

After opening up the debate and asking what animal could jump as high as her specially made “cheetah” legs, Aimee ‘went from being a woman that these kids had been trained to see as disabled, to somebody who had potential that their bodies didn’t have yet, somebody that might even be super- abled‘ (Aimee).

Following on from this, a project with Matthew Barney (see image above) encouraged Aimee to think of her legs not as just prosthetics, but works of art, ‘wearable sculpture… A prosthetic limb doesn’t represent the need to replace loss anymore, it can stand as a symbol that the wearer has the power to create whatever it is that they want to create… so people that society once considered to be disabled, can now become the architects of their own identities, and indeed continue to change those identities by designing their bodies from a place of empowerment.’ Oh how I love her!

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January 25, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Inspiration. 4 comments.

Actress with disabilities stars in a musical

Actress Ali Stroker, who uses a wheelchair, has been cast as the leading role in the musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Milburn, N.J.

Ali Stroker - The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee musical - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Excitingly Ali’s character was written to be an able-bodied person. She plays Olive Ostrovsky, a young girl whose parents are often away leaving her without the love and support she desires. Appointing Ali as the starring role shows that her acting abilities, and probably good looks, were what convinced the casting directors to taking her on in the role. Although Ali feels her disability ‘does add another element to the character’, it isn’t mentioned.

Ali hopes her success will raise the profile of actors and actresses with disabilities; ‘I am happy that I was cast in a part that isn’t specifically a disabled person, but I also hope producers realize that it is important to at least audition people that are disabled for roles when the characters are disabled.’

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is touring the world and will be in the UK, but sadly Ali won’t be part of the cast. If only I had enough money to pop to America to see a musical!

See Ali performing Here where I stand:

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January 21, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Entertainment. Leave a comment.

Paralysed teenager Lauren Jones is Paralympic hopeful

15-year-old Lauren Jones has climbed the World Wheelchair Tennis Rankings to reach the top 20, and is now also in the top 3 for Great Britain. Even more astonishing is that fact that Lauren only started playing tennis in March last year, after becoming paralysed.

Wheelchair tennis - Lauren Jones - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Lauren is now paralysed from the waist down after falling from a tree in June 2009. During her recovery period at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, Lauren used sport, and in particular tennis, to aid her progress.

But her ambitions don’t stop there as she aims to join the Great British Wheelchair Tennis Squad who will compete in the 2012 Paralympics.

Her mother said; We’re absolutely elated and can’t believe how far she’s come so quickly. But for Lauren, she’s not satisfied yet. She feels she’ll be happy when she’s number one.’

Her family is still fund-raising to fund a new wheelchair and home access for Lauren. If you would like to donate, please visit their Just Giving page.

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January 14, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Sport. 7 comments.

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