We had the good fortune of connecting with Paula Carozzo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paula, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is something that has come natural to me from a young age. I’ve looked different and moved different since I was a kid due to my disability, so I had no other choice but to face the world when others looked down on me. There has been a mix of emotions when taking risks including fear, feeling embarrassed and tenacity. I think that risks at times can be your biggest assets or biggest losses even if measured cautiously. We all need risks to grow and explore our curiosity.
Taking risks has allowed me to grow, experience the most amazing moments of my life and launch myself as an entrepreneur with a disability. One of the most amazing moments in my career was when I decided to show up as myself and represent a community of people with disabilities who have yet to be accepted in society. All the success I’ve had up to now, has come from taking risks, and putting myself out there. I wasn’t sure if people would like my posts, pay attention to me or if I would make an impact. I felt alone when I started and was very scared to be judged about my disability, but I still decided to create a space for people who had been misrepresented all their lives.
Risk has showed me how far I can go and the value I can give to make the world a more inclusive place.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
At the age of five, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after a non-traumatic brain injury. After living for many years under the radar about my disability, I decided to launch a space where I could express the inequality and adventures from living with a disability.
My disability is mostly physical. I walk with a minor limp and use a cane for more stability and independency. I portray my canes as my biggest fashion accessory on my Instagram and Tiktok, while speaking about the injustice, struggles and what living with a disability is like. There were many struggles starting out, especially when it came to reaching out to brands to speak about inclusivity and how it extended beyond what diversity is defined as. Brands have also struggled a lot when trying to understand the many phases of disability and how much the meaning can change per individual. Getting to where I am has taken a lot of strategy, work ethic, but mostly it’s taken patience and discipline.
The lessons I’ve learned along the way is to be yourself and to fight for what you think is important. Your fight can’t be everyone’s fight and that is okay. Be patient and understand that storytelling is key now a days in this digital era. With my story, I want the world to know that you deserve the ability to tell your story and have a chance to reinvent yourself to be what you’ve always dreamt of.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Design District is always the spot for me! It’s not only 100% accessible, it has the the best food and photoshoot spots for the perfect IG pic!