Here at Slick Chicks we believe our ambassadors are the forefront of our success. Our ambassadors are chosen based on their impactful missions to help better society and better themselves in the process. Our ambassadors are dedicated to their communities and for that (and more), we are proud to have them as the main representatives of our brand.
Paula Carozzo is a model, blogger, and a passionate advocate for inclusivity. Paula uses her social media platforms to address a number of different issues, primarily involving accessibility, inclusive representation, and social justice. Below, Paula gives us a peek into her deep spiritual practices, how she stays true to herself, and what drives her advocacy work.
Briefly introduce yourself in one to two sentences.
My name is Paula, I am an inclusive activist and a disabled blogger. At the age of 5, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy after a medical malpractice from a surgery. After launching a career in fashion and entertainment PR, I realized there was no representation of people with disabilities in these industries let alone in the world in general, and that’s when I started speaking on the issue.
Where does your overall determination come from?
A lot of my determination comes from the willingness to change the world and to experience it all. It’s a determination to spark conversations, eradicate stereotypes and to redefine disability and the impact it creates doesn't have a price. Mix all of that with passion, and it definitely equals determination.
Spirituality is a consistent point of conversation on your Instagram. How has your journey with the practices of spirituality developed throughout the years?
I believe spirituality has played a huge role in my life. It’s what taught me to quiet down and listen to my own voice. It taught me that healing exists, it just takes time, compromise and willingness; the same things we give up to others so quickly only because we don’t know how to sit still and be patient with our own process. Being spiritual has healed me in the past and will continue to do so. My daily practices are meditation, yoga and writing. Others are deeper like spiritual cleansings etc. My spirituality has definitely matured and deepend throughout the years, and it’s an ongoing relationship that requires work and time.
How do you spiritually prepare yourself for each day? Do you have a mantra or meditation you do if things ever become overwhelming?
I wake up each morning at 7am and go straight to my yoga mat. I do this to give my body a chance to wake up with a physical activity instead of just throwing it out into the world. Yoga also gives me insights into life and keeps me humble. The mat is a safe place to fall and own my mistakes. It’s just such a deep spiritual and physical practice when you apply to every level of your life. I journal about 2 times a week. That’s where I get real and find the strength to tell myself things I don’t have the strength to tell myself in the mirror. Writing just gives me a birds eye view of my reality to process everything from an outside perspective. I try to meditate every night before bed, it’s my last step to close the day. When things get crazy or overwhelming, I know it’s because I haven’t meditated or haven’t been alone; it’s weird but I thrive when I am in my own space, so I just let myself be in solitude when I feel that things are getting out of hand. Spirituality doesn’t have to be the same for everyone. It’s actually a practice that is liberating, and you should practice it in whatever way you feel free.
How do you empower yourself?
I empower myself by acknowledging my process and staying true. We are human, we win, we lose, we learn and we grow. It’s all about how much you're willing to put in to grow and knowing that the process comes with pain and then some laughter. My relationship with empowerment isn’t so much about the empowerment that society sells on being rough and having authority. It’s more about staying vulnerable, having and giving support, being responsible for my life and my movement, and being light as we all are.
How do you process and deal with any critics you may have?
I take it as constructive criticism. Nothing less; nothing more. There’s always a safe space to grow and to see other’s perspectives.
What is your relationship with social media?
My relationship with social media is more about educating and opening a wave to shift perspectives. I consider myself an activist ready to stir conversation and shake some taboos. On my social media, you can see posts about disability to a self-love campaign I created. To me, it’s all about creating awareness on the self, culture, identity and inclusion. Here and there, you will see me working with brands and doing campaigns, but the mission is mostly to educate, cultivate and create awareness.
As an activist for inclusion, what areas of society do you believe need to drastically change in regard to inclusion practices?
For me a lot of it is changing people's perspective on disability. There is a lot of surface work like accessibility, adaptive fashion, inclusive education, but I feel that if you start at the root of things and get inside people’s heads and redefine disability, the job is halfway done.
There is still a lot of work to be done in the areas of infrastructure, accessibility, inclusive education in the school system, equal pay, and representation overall in the art industries.
Why does representation matter for you?
If it’s something I have to fight for, it matters. If it’s a basic human right that others have and I don’t, it matters. We have been marginalized for so long in so many ways that it matters to get out and show up for these movements and create m y space.
What do you love about Slick Chicks?
I love the innovation and redefinition of intimacy. I think it’s extremely important to make women know that they can feel sexy in wearing something that they CAN wear. It’s a statement the brand is making and everyone should be ready to hear it.
You can find Paula’s advocacy work and spiritual demonstrations on her Instagram.