Sometimes, the only thing that keeps people from reaching their dreams is their own excuses. But for this young ballerina born without arms, these “excuses” are no match for hard work and confidence.
From a young age, Vitória Bueno of Santa Rita do Sapucaí, Brazil, has demonstrated an interest in dancing. So when her physiotherapist recommended that she try ballet, her family enrolled her in a class that teaches the dance.
When her mom first dropped her off at the class, she worried that her five-year-old daughter would find it hard to fit in. But those fears were banished when they saw Vitória grow into a confident young woman who doesn’t see her lack of arms as a disadvantage.
“For me, arms, they’re just a detail,” the now 16-year-old Vitória said. “I follow with my eyes, as if they were there.”
Growing up in a small town in rural Brazil was tough, as Vitória’s disability made her a social curiosity. Her mom, Wanda, 39, remembers people lining up outside their house so they can see her daughter. Some would even lift her sleeves to take a look.
The insensitivity shown by these people was definitely painful, but it didn’t hinder Vitória from focusing on what’s truly important: her dream of becoming a dancer.
Vitória does more than just ballet; she also knows tap, jazz, and contemporary dance.
The talented teen is now a regular at the ballet academy in her hometown. Her attitude and how she carries herself have made her a social media star and an inspiration to many worldwide.
Despite her uniqueness, Vitória has the exceptional ability to blend in with her colleagues during a performance. When you see her gliding across the wooden stage, it’s easy to forget that she dances with no arms because she moves so gracefully.
“I don’t feel like I need them at all,” she said.
Aside from helping fulfill her dream, dancing has developed Vitória’s strength and flexibility. These things are crucial for Vitória because she does everything with her feet – from brushing her teeth and applying makeup to picking items off the grocery store shelf.
“There are things she can do with her feet that I can’t do with my hands,” her stepfather, Jose Carlos Perreira, said.
To date, Vitória has over 157,000 followers on Instagram, where she often shares fun dance videos and how-to routines. The teen is just glad that she can serve as an inspiration to others simply by being herself.
“We are more than our disabilities, so we have to chase our dreams,” she said.
Check out Vitória’s inspiring story in the video below.
Another teenager with a disability who is inspiring many worldwide is Ellie Goldstein, an 18-year-old model with Down syndrome who starred in an Instagram campaign by Gucci Beauty. With that, Ellie made history as the first model with Down syndrome to pose for the brand.
Ellie modeled Gucci Mascara L’Obscur, a product from the brand’s beauty range. While this opportunity would be a big deal for any aspiring model, this is a huge step forward for Ellie and other people with disabilities who have long been “invisible” in ad campaigns.
A model with Down syndrome representing a famous international brand means that more companies are taking a step towards being more inclusive.
“I really enjoyed the modeling and loved wearing the Gucci dress. I’m really proud of the photoshoot and would love to be famous,” Ellie said. “I’m looking forward to modeling for other brands.”
These girls are proof that you’re at best when you start embracing who you really are. Despite their disabilities, Vitória and Ellie loved every bit of who they are, and that acceptance of themselves is exactly what propelled them to success.
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