This Disability-Rights Crusader’s Hair has Become her Calling Card

This Disability-Rights Crusader’s Hair has Become her Calling Card

Images by Lor’eneJanae. Styling by Stephanie Thomas.

“I do know that my hair color performs a job in how individuals bear in mind me.”

Bleached blond, pink, purple… In the case of Lauren “Lolo” Spencer’s hair, her cropped curls are her ever-evolving playground. “I like my hair as a result of I change it up on a regular basis,” says the Los Angeles-born and-bred actress, mannequin and disability-rights advocate. “When you go fully Amber Rose buzz-cut bald, you’re simply not afraid to attempt anything after that.” 

She visits her hairstylist (who occurs to be her finest buddy) each 4 to 6 months for her transformational dye jobs and reaches for Overtone, a line of pigment-depositing conditioners, to assist replenish her new hues in between. “I maintain my hair conditioned as a lot as potential with out overdoing it,” she says. 

Spencer’s chameleonic ’do has additionally change into her sudden trademark. “I’ve by no means dyed my hair on objective for consideration,” she says. “However I do know that my viewers is rising and that my hair color performs a job in how individuals bear in mind me: I’m all the time the lady within the wheelchair with the purple hair or one thing like that.” Overly imprecise description apart, she’ll take it. “I’m not mad in any respect; it has labored in my favour.” 

Images by Lor’eneJanae. Styling by Stephanie Thomas.

The viewers Spencer is referring to is the 12,000+ YouTube subscribers (and over 20Okay followers on Instagram) whom she has amassed on her channel “Sitting Fairly,” which she began in 2015 to showcase what her life is like as a bodily disabled girl. At 14, Spencer was identified with the progressive neurodegenerative illness ALS. By 19, she was utilizing a wheelchair to get round. With video matters starting from vogue tutorials to courting to life’s on a regular basis challenges, the 32-year-old’s vlog is a bright-toned act of self-love fuelled by the last word objective of dispelling society’s slim views of individuals with disabilities. 

And identical to her daring, multi-tinted strategy to her hair and deep need to “symbolize incapacity in a enjoyable, fly and horny means,” Spencer’s sartorial methods are additionally one thing to be admired. “My fashion actually displays my extroverted persona,” she says. “I wish to maintain it very ‘what I’m about.’ I’m about my tradition: hip-hop tradition, Black tradition—every thing. My fashion is a mix of that and being horny and sporting stuff that’s fully sudden: color, texture, patterns—something that pushes the envelope.”  

The influencer on the 2020 Movie Unbiased Spirit Awards

Spencer wasn’t all the time so outgoing along with her vogue selections, she admits. “Earlier than, I used to be like, ‘If it’s not black, white or gray, I don’t need to put on it.’” Then she met Stephanie Thomas, a vogue stylist who focuses on dressing individuals with disabilities. “She influenced me fully,” she says. “She taught me search for items that may work with my seated physique kind, which I by no means knew do previous to assembly her.” A few of Thomas’s stylist-recommended ideas embody high-waisted bottoms to forestall Spencer from having the unpleasant “plumber’s crack” whereas seated and shoulder accents to enrich her distinctive curves as a consequence of scoliosis. “Something that provides off the phantasm that my shoulders are straight,” she explains. “Each time we speak, we’re all the time like, ‘OK, what’s one thing the general public hasn’t seen individuals with disabilities put on earlier than?’” 

Since 2018, the style maven has been capable of channel her love of fashion, activism and vibrant hair into vogue campaigns for big-name manufacturers like Tommy Hilfiger and St. John knitwear. Her favorite to this point? Modelling within the Tommy x Zendaya Fall 2019 capsule assortment, an intensive ’70s-inspired assortment by which 10 types featured adapt­ive modifications. The shot of a purple-headed Spencer sporting a houndstooth trench coat and knee-high leather-based boots is a mode second she’ll always remember. “Once I noticed it, I used to be like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s me!’ It’s such a strong picture. I’m dressed phenomenally and my head is held excessive. It’s prefer it’s saying ‘I’m right here!’” 

Spencer fronting the Tommy x Zendaya Fall 2019 assortment marketing campaign

And whether or not she’s fronting a YouTube video or a vogue marketing campaign or she’s on the massive display (Spencer starred in her very first movie, Give Me Liberty, final yr), the self-described disability-lifestyle influencer brings a breath of much-needed recent air and an essential message: that her voice—and voices like hers—is legitimate and has the proper to take up house. “Every demographic that I symbolize is a minority: disabled, Black and a girl,” she says. “Society has created a world that has by no means actually appreciated or revered any of these three of their entirety. We’re simply now beginning to see some change, and that’s the half I’m enthusiastic about.”

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