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Boundless - An interview with Marna Michele by Jamie Cole

Boundless - An interview with Marna Michele by Jamie Cole

Photo by Iris Ray

So, let me just start by saying the first words I heard come out of this ray of sunshine were, "Eyebrows are the tits of the face." when her As/Is video went viral earlier this year. In that instant, I knew I had to learn more about Marna (and share this beauty with you all)!

Marna Michele allowed the world a glimpse into her morning routine with her 'How I Get Ready with My Disability" video. While candid content inspired many who felt a make-up routine was an unachievable feat, Marna's disability is the last thing that comes to mind as the video plays. 

Without question, Marna has an incredible network of family and friends for which we should all be envious. Back in February, Buzzfeed released a video on social media, featuring Marna, and the rest of the world fell in love as she shared her story, struggles, triumphs, and dream of becoming a performer. 

It is obvious that Marna can light up a room with her smile but the way she brings a moment to life with her music will leave you speechless. Take a peek into the life of this talented, vibrant, and oh-so-lovely young woman and follow her on her journey while she lives her best life! 

You have a zest for life that captured the attention of so many when you participated in the As/Is make-up video. What was your initial reaction when you were asked to do the video?

I was shocked that BuzzFeed was interested in my makeup skill because in all honesty I never thought my skill was very exceptional. But doing the video and receiving the reactions I got opened my eyes to just how important that video was. So many people were inspired to do their makeup and just try their best. I was honored and flattered!  

You were born with Arthrogryposis and with the help of leg braces could walk until the age of 13. How did this help you become the independent and determined person you are?

My disability has definitely made me the person I am today. I had to learn from an early age to fight for myself and to be kind to those who have less. I don’t think I’d be as good a human as I am without my disability. 

Many people would never imagine that you’ve done some quite physically challenging things like horseback riding, jet skiing, and hiking. Tell us about the moment you were most proud of yourself for trying something new.  

I really have so many moments! But two things that really stand out are jet-skiing and camping! I remember the moment I took off on a stand-up jet ski, instead of standing I kneeled and all my friends were there to cheer me on, it made me feel capable of anything! And camping, I first went last year 2017 with my boyfriend and his friends, it was hard and scary and I hated sleeping in a tent, but I did it. And I did it again this year! And I’ll probably keep camping with the help of my friends and loved ones! 

marna and rob.jpg

It is obvious, from what we see on social media, that your boyfriend Robert absolutely adores you and vice versa. Since you love music- What song best describes your relationship?

Well, it’s a song you haven’t heard of yet! But hopefully you will soon! I wrote him a song called “Babe” and it’s probably my favorite song on my upcoming album. It's simple and fun loving and really expresses how much I adore my man.

Your VLOGs are definitely a fan favorite. Personally, I enjoy how candid you are when sharing your daily struggles and successes. Is it difficult to share imperfections with an audience? 

Absolutely. I think it’s hard for anyone. But having a disability, no matter how confident you may seem, you always have insecurities. My movements always stress me out watching things back, but I do it because I know that there are plenty of people out there who feel the exact same.

In one of your videos, you share that you now embrace the terms ‘crippled’ and ‘disabled’. This statement alone will certainly inspire so many others who are labeled. Do you often have an opportunity to inform others about your disability and how you find a way to adapt in many situations that would otherwise be deemed impossible?

The biggest way I can inform anyone is through my YouTube and Instagram platforms. There I talk about the struggles and small minded people I experience in my everyday life. Such as being called “crippled” as an insult. For me, it is not an insult because, yeah I am crippled. I can’t do a lot of stuff the average human can, but that’s not a bad thing.  I sometimes feel as if I’m informing people day to day. Whether it be something small or big. Disabled is a blanket statement. But every disability is different. So as someone gets to know me, they get to know what I can and can not do.

Finally, let’s talk about your incredible voice!! Has there been anyone in your life, besides your family, that has influenced you to follow your dream of recording your very own album? 

Honestly, the lack of disabled people in the music industry has been my greatest influence. Growing up and watching American Idol, XFactor etc, and not seeing someone like me really inspired me to follow my dreams. Sure we see a disabled person from time to time, but there isn’t one wheelchair-bound person headlining tours and selling out stadiums. I want to be that person! And I’m not going to give up and till it happens. Or until I get the chance to sing the National Anthem at the super bowl! 

You have an astounding passion for music and fulfilling your dream. Do you recall the first song that inspired you to become a singer?

I know the exact song and moment I realized, “I could do this!” It was “When” sung by Shania Twain! It was the first song I ever performed and belted with all my might. Once I rolled off that stage I said to my mom “this is what I’m going to do forever!” 

You seem to be a very genuine and passionate person. Because of this, I would assume song-writing comes naturally for you. Is that the case?

More so than not, songs just come to me. But I definitely have those days where writer's block is a thing! Sometimes songs come to me in a dream and I wake up humming a tune or writing down random phrases. 

What avenues would you like to take in order to share your story and inspire others to live their best life, just like you are doing?

I’d absolutely love to be on a singing show for the whole world to see, and compete with all different types of people for the “gold” so to say. To prove that even though I’m sitting down doesn’t mean I can’t hit those Whitney notes or captivate an audience like Britney Spears.

Photo by Iris Ray

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