Life Lessons:
Stephanie Thomas

Are you happy at the moment?

Yep, but then it doesn’t take much to make me happy.

If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?

It would be three things:

1) Work to Live. There will always be unfinished work.

2) Walk by FAITH not by sight. You have the power to literally accomplish anything you want to accomplish by simply BELIEVING and WORKING TOWARDS IT, because all of the faith in the world without work is useless.

3) Bind grace and truth around your neck, at all times. Wear it like your favorite statement accessory,  especially when someone else is treating you poorly. Because it’s important to plant the seeds that you want to reap. Don’t worry about someone else, they are going to reap the seeds they plant.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

People first living as opposed to task first living.

What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?

I’m relocating to Santa Monica, California this Fall and I’m looking forward to living in such a beautiful area, and  I’m also really excited about moving my disability styling business to the LA area.  So honestly, it would be great to meet a nice guy to share all of this happiness with…

What’s your secret to happiness?

One of my favorite songs from In The Heights, the 8 time Tony award winning Broadway musical, is “Paciencia y Fe” which means Patience & Faith. Patience and faith is my secret to happiness! Even if I temporarily freak out about something, it’s my faith that helps me cut through all of the noise of life and reminds me of what’s important.

What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

I have three rituals I’ve adopted over the last two years that have changed my life!

  • Putting my faith first with early morning reading, journaling, and praying
  • Fighting stress with 6am workouts! Woohoo!
  • Calling and chatting with my Mom to discuss current events, politics, and TV shows, etc. This is one of my favorite things, we get so little time with people who truly love us, I want to create as many memories as possible!

What’s your biggest regret?

My biggest regret is that I wasted so much time regretting things that I should have embraced as teachable moments.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

I don’t have children yet, but as an adjunct fashion and public speaking professor, I try to teach my students how awesome and valuable they are and how valuable their voice  is in the world. Each term in my opening lecture I ask students to tightly place one hand over their mouth and at the same time try to talk to the person sitting next to them. When they are incapable of being heard and understood, I challenge them not to silence their voice in the world. I remind them that they are unique and we need to hear their thoughts.

What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

Why are questions like this, so easy to answer?  I need to slow down and listen waay more than I speak!

Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

I’m most proud of my relationship with family members that mean the most to me like my parents and aunts and uncles. It’s those close relationships that nurture me and empower everyday to stay focused on my true desire to advocate for inclusivity in the fashion industry. That is something else I’m proud of, my work as a disability stylist. For over 19 years I have wanted to make a difference for women and men dressing with physical disabilities and today I am.

When were you happiest?

Five years ago, I was laid-off from my on-air radio morning–drive position; that was the best thing that’s happened to me. That opened the door for me to become a full time voice actor which is what I’ve wanted to do since I was in high school. And although I’d work as a voice actor part time, leaving radio meant voice acting would be my full time gig, while building my disability styling business. That moment, reminds me to go with the flow of life.

What ten words best describe you? 

Funny, witty, compassionate, sensitive, tenacious, professional, loving, giving, and talented.

Former television reporter/producer and radio personality Stephanie Thomas is an on-air disability fashion expert. She is also the founder of Luvwhatuwear.com, a blog dedicated to providing styling tips & tools for women with physical disabilities. Her interest in this field dates back 19 years; however she’s lived with physical impairments all of her life. Born with congenital disabilities on her hand and feet, Stephanie knows from experience, fashion styling is a transformative tool.
 
Stephanie shares her unique perspective with over 7,000 viewers as a disability fashion contributor for the nationally acclaimed disability news and media site Abledbody.com.  During her time as an accomplished, seasoned voice over actor and  former NBA Cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls, she found another passion for motivating others.  Today she does this at the gym as Zumba Fitness instructor and in the classroom as an adjunct speech and fashion professor at the Art Institute.