They say getting injured at a younger age makes it easier transition-wise, and Alexandra Santibanez certainly proves this is the case. A fashion model hailing from Miami, Florida and a motivational speaker and advocate for disability awareness, her injury at the age of five has barely slowed her down.
But what we especially love about Alexandra is her sense of style. Not only is she a model, but she went on to receive her bachelor’s in a field perfectly suited for the fashion industry, making sure she’s armed and ready for the future.
Brilliantly smart and the most fashionable woman on four wheels in South Florida, this is the outstanding story of Alexandra Santibanez.
Why she’s fearless
For Alexandra, life would have been completely “normal,” at least body-wise, had she not been in a fated car accident at the age of five. A woman in another car ran a red light, and she and her mom were hit. Both Alexandra and her mother had to be airlifted to the hospital after sustaining serious injuries, and when they arrived Alexandra’s spinal cord injury was not detected right away.
It took her mother’s keen sense of “something isn’t quite right with this child” to flip over Alexandra after seeing her pale face, and discovering a huge bump on her back; which ended up being a blood mass over her spinal cord at the T3 level. Alexandra was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury, and spent the next half year in the hospital, including her sixth birthday, completing the necessary rehabilitation for her age and level.
After returning home, Alexandra’s love of fashion grew over the years, and it eventually became something she was exceptionally good at. So good, that after graduating from high school, she went on to school to study for a degree in fashion merchandising.
Modeling however wasn’t always something Alexandra had her eyes on. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she was hired as a project manager for Miami’s biggest fashion magazine – Fashion & Entertainment Magazine – where she worked for two years. Afterwards, needing a breather from the tight deadlines and schedule, she decided if it was finally time to develop her career as a model.
What’s she up to now?
Alexandra first ran in a few local beauty pageants; no disabled pageants either. She won Ms. Photogenic and third runner up in the Ms. Cuba/American beauty pageant. Next, she wanted to break into the disability modeling scene, and she targeted Colours Wheelchairs, a cool company that makes custom wheelchairs to fit the personality of whoever is in it.
After hobnobbing with Colours representatives at the Abilities Expo, she was asked by the VP of Colours a month later to be their new spokesperson, and she was on cloud nine. In addition to representing Colours, she’s also a model for purse-maker Candy Wooley, a designer from Miami, and she does modeling for automotive shows.
Most recently in fact, Alexandra sported her rockin’ pin-up look for the traveling DUB Show over the weekend in Miami, showing the world that even a girl with paralysis can look drop dead gorgeous on the hood of a car.
You go Alexandra. You’re changing the world with every photo you take, and we love you for it.
How has Alexandra inspired you?
– Like her on Facebook: Alexandra Santibanez
– View more photos: Alexandra1818 on Instagram
Watch her video!