We all have our obstacles in life. Some are weighed down by them and some choose to fight and get through them. My dear friend, Bunny Moreno inspires me so much because she is such a fighter! When I first met her, she was a stay at home mom with 3 small children trying to find her glamorous side. Like many of us, she wanted to pick up a few pretty dresses and fix up her hair but she had her own obstacles.
Bunny was born with Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease. She says,
"CMT affects the major nerves that go down your arms and legs. Nerves conduct the muscles and make them strong. Basically from my elbow to my hands and from my knees to my feet I am weaker than most people......My hands are sort of crooked (you really have to look hard to notice), I have trembles and shakes in them. I often find humor when one of my fingers starts to twitch for no reason..Crazy hands of mine!"
She wears plastic braces on her legs, which she had been used to hiding under pants all of her life. She said she could never wear pretty dresses and certainly never heels or pretty shoes because she has to wear her braces. She was afraid of what people would say or think about her and her braces and shoes.
I am not a "can't" person. When someone tells me I cant, I prove them wrong and I wanted to see her prove herself wrong. No woman should ever let her age, body size, disability or anything get in the way of her feeling beautiful and good about herself.
On her first trip to Missouri to visit me, I told her that I would get her in a dress and we'll see how many people talk about it. She came, wearing pants and during a photo shoot, I let her borrow a fabulous dress to highlight her Latina style. I've heard people say " she's glowing". Well this girl was glowing so bright, she could have lit up all of New York. She wore the dress with her braces and custom made shoes. It was like she was blooming in front of that camera.
The scariest part was going out for pizza after the shoot. Sure enough, a man came up to the table and talked to her. Not about the plastic things on her legs or "what's wrong" with her or the shoes. He told her how gorgeous she looked and that he loved her style. Read more about that photo shoot on Bunny's Victory
Some of us have a natural "I don't care what people think" attitude and some are always conscious of other people's ideas. Either our culture or our city dictates how people should be and what they should wear. Its not easy to be brave and develop an armor but she did it.
Now, Bunny runs all over New York in her colorful dresses and braces. Instead of being weighed down by the chunky plastic braces and shoes, she allowed them to work with her new found personal style and they've become her signature accessory.
She was recently featured in Vintage Life Magazine with photos of her in a dress and braces.
Since her hands are weak, she's still practicing her hair and makeup looks. Its not easy to hold an eye liner or pin curl hair with shaky, weak hands but she perseveres and every new vintage outfit is celebrated as a victory.