Bell is a senior graphic design student at Samford University who is an advocate for individuals with disabilities. She discovered Runway of Dreams while working on a graphic design project and searching for social media influencers with disabilities.
“Their bio captivated me, so I decided to send them a message,” explained Bell. “I wrote them a brief direct message explaining that I was born with a disability, and I described how I loved their brand's mission.”
After explaining that she was a graphic designer and volunteering to serve in one of the organization's fashion shows either by providing graphics or modeling, the organization reached out to Bell asking if she would be interested in walking in their New York Fashion Week show.
“I was floored,” recalled Bell.
Since she was a little girl, Bell dreamed of bringing people with disabilities into fashion marketing and media. She explained the joy that has come from being in a season of life where so many of her life-long dreams are finally being brought to fruition.
“The entire day on the runway I found myself choking back tears of joy,” reflected Bell. “I have never felt so seen, so understood, so championed by, and so loved on by a God who created me and has a purpose for my life to inspire and bring about change to the fashion industry.”
Bell finds confidence in knowing that her disability is an avenue to her own personal freedom.
“No longer am I hindered by something that makes me feel less than, but I’m stepping into a season of my life where having a disability is being championed as beautiful and inspiring,” explained Bell.
Bell is passionate about advocating for increased accessibility for those with disabilities. She shared that Wesleyan’s effort to provide an accessible experience for her as a student inspired her to become an advocate for others.
“During my time at Wesleyan my parents worked with administration to install automatic doors with handheld clickers to all buildings so that I could navigate the campus with ease. This set an example for me of how to advocate for myself,” shared Bell.
She has worked with Samford’s president, chief of campus strategy, and disability resources team to make Samford a “universally accessible” campus by installing ramps, implementing various automatic doors, and smoothing over eroded pavement.
We are so proud of you, Lauren, and we will continue to cheer you on as you use your life to glorify the Lord and bring about important change in the world.