The on-air personality for ESPN and gold-medal Paralympian swimmer has overcome seemingly impossible odds after a health scare that could have ended her life.
The only thing keeping me going is the fact the Paralympians will take center stage in Rio in just a few weeks. In attempts to boost attention, Vogue Brazil teamed up with the Paralympic committee for a photoshoot to promote the Games and draw attention to the athletes. Sounds like a great idea, right? The limbs of soap stars Cléo Pires and Paulo Vilhena were digitally altered to mimic the real bodies of Brazilian Paralympians Renato Leite and Bruninha Alexandre. I’m sorry, what?! You have beautiful, accomplished and available athletes to shoot (yes, Renito and Bruninha were on hand for the photoshoot) but you choose instead to go with imposters? Vogue Brazil’s response: some weak justification that they didn’t actually put this shoot together, they just featured it, and that this was an attempt to support the Paralympic games by bringing in famous faces.
Vogue Brazil is facing controversy over its new photo campaign featuring two able-bodied models, Brazilian actors Cleo Pires and Paulo Vilhena, photoshopped as Paralympian athletes Renato Leite and Bruna Alexandre.
Thirty-one-year-old Paralympic athlete Alana Nichols, who is the only American female to medal in both the summer and winter Olympic Games, chose the latter. An avid athlete from the age of five, Nichols spent her childhood playing t-ball, volleyball, and basketball. Nichols managed to graduate with her class on time and head to college at the University of New Mexico that fall. The first two years after the accident were painful and challenging, causing Nichols to question everything. “For so long my identity was about being an athlete,” she says. “When I accepted that this was my new reality, and saw the possibilities, I started thinking positively about my future.” She transferred to the University of Arizona to be a part of their wheelchair basketball program, qualifying for the U.S. Paralympics Women’s Wheelchair Basketball National Team in 2005, and in 2008 they brought home the gold.