Photographer : Chris Thorn
Occupation: Student in Grade 9
Hi Cristina! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, I’m Cristina. I am 14 years old with cerebral palsy but I don’t really let that define me. I have a twin sister and older brother. I only have my mom now as my dad recently died from cancer. He always thought I was the strongest person in the world but I never really believed him. Every day he would say, “left side”, and I would need to respond, “strong side”. I kind of consider that my life motto now. Another thing about me is that I am a grade nine student and I have made lots of friends, even though sometimes high school isn’t the easiest. I love chocolate and I also love old Hollywood stars and movies. I especially love Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland. The one thing that I can’t live without is music. I feel like music has helped me overcome some of my daily obstacles. My two favorite singers are Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande. I think they are really inspiring young women and I hope I meet them one day! I really hope this interview inspires someone or makes someone smile because that’s all I really want to do.
What is your definition of beautiful?
Someone who is positive and happy. Someone who Is comfortable with themselves and doesn’t have to hide anything.
If you were talking on the phone to someone you had never met how would you describe your appearance?
I have brown eyes, new ombre hair (which I love!), I’m 4’11”, really really pale, Italian, and I have a standard-sized body that’s not super skinny but not too big.
When do you feel most beautiful?
When I’m at school people will say that I look like I’m always happy and positive because I have a smile on my face. Sometimes I’ll actually be having a really bad day or I’m dealing with my anxiety, but when people tell me that I feel better about myself. That’s probably when I feel most beautiful.
If you had the opportunity to change your appearance would you? If yes, what would you change?
Oh! Definitely my eyebrows. My sister is always trying to pluck them for me so I’d just like to have them touched up.
What are 5 things you love about yourself?
1. My smile (got it from my dad which I really like)
2. My awkwardness which seems strange but I actually really like it
3. My eyes
4. I like that I try to be happy/positive even when high school can be hard
5. My new ombre hair
I wouldn’t do it. Time is just going to make it worse. You can’t control if you are going to wrinkles. It’s natural. Just go with the flow and let it happen!
Is there anything you would like to tell people about your disability and what it means to you?
I get teased a lot in high school and sometimes people even call me cripple when I can hear them. Sometimes I fall apart and just want to run away. Sometimes I wish I could say something more.
If you could say something to those people who call you names what would you say?
Well this is easy because I’ve thought about it in my head one hundred times. I’d tell them that disabilities don’t define you. People judge you without knowing you. It happened to me at birth and even if I want to change it I can’t. I’m learning to deal with it and if they are teasing me because they feel bad about themselves, they should try to deal with that too rather than make fun of me.