July 19, 2023

Disabled And Here: Interview with Hesadiah

Hi! How would you like to introduce yourself? My name is Hesadiah and I am thrilled for the opportunity to introduce myself to you. As someone who has always been drawn to creativity and self-expression, my love for creating art, singing, dancing, and writing has become an integral part of who I am.

Hesadiah portrait

In a lush green park, Hesadiah smiles while leaning partially on a raised garden bed. She is a Black woman with long wavy hair dressed in lavender, white, and pastel pink, with a head scarf, crop tank, fuzzy backpack, belly piercing, patchwork denim pants, and sneakers.

One of my greatest strengths is my willingness to try new things and learn from any experience. I love to take risks, and I believe that the only way to truly succeed is to constantly expand my boundaries. This applies not only to my personal life but also to my professional goals. As such, I am always eager to take on new challenges and learn from them.

My passion for justice and human rights is another crucial aspect of who I am. I am incredibly devoted to advocating for animal, black, and women’s rights, as I believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to live a life free from oppression and discrimination. This belief has motivated me to dedicate myself to making a positive impact on the world, and I am confident that I can bring this same level of passion and commitment to any workplace.

As a person who is highly passionate about advocating for social justice, I am particularly motivated to create more visibility for black and POC femmes who are disabled and/or neurodivergent.

Hesadiah playing with popsocket

Torso shot of Hesadiah sitting on a bench and playing with a pastel pink popsocket fidget.

It is a widely known fact that the healthcare system has historically marginalized many communities of color, including black and POC femmes. This has led to a concerning lack of representation for these individuals within the medical field, often resulting in misdiagnosis and underdiagnosis. Additionally, those who are neurodivergent face significant obstacles when it comes to accessing care and support. This is unacceptable, and I am committed to working toward a world where all individuals have equal access to the resources they need to thrive.

I know that you’re originally from Portland, but lived elsewhere for a bit. How long have you been back and how do you like (or not like) it? I actually grew up primarily in Massachusetts but was born in Portland. However, I returned to Portland almost 3 years ago after taking a brief stint in Alabama, where my family owns land.

Overall, I am quite fond of Portland and find the city to be a lovely place to live. I appreciate the vibrant arts scene, the diverse and vibrant food options, and the overall welcoming community.

While I do enjoy living in Portland, I must admit that it would be wonderful to live somewhere with more people who look like me. In my experience, Portland can feel quite homogenous at times and it can be challenging to find similar cultural experiences to what I had in Massachusetts.

Oof, understandable. On a different note, you and Artthew were both serving some serious looks during our Disabled And Here shoot. How would you describe your fashion sense or style? I would describe my fashion sense or style as colorful, youthful and expressive. I enjoy dressing up in eye-catching outfits that reflect my personality and mood. I have a particular fondness for the color pink. I believe that the clothing one wears should be a form of self-expression and that one should wear whatever makes them happy. I've always loved to have fun with fashion and to experiment.

While I value practicality and comfort, I also believe that fashion should be fun and uplifting. I am always searching for ways to make my wardrobe more unique and personal, and am always eager to try out new trends and experimentation.

Hesadiah headshot

Close-up of Hesadiah smiling at the camera. She has long wavy hair pulled back with a lavender headscarf, a nose ring, and pastel multicolor cutout earrings in the shape of a woman with an Afro and head scarf.

What are some things you do to relax or just for fun? One of my absolute favorite things to do to unwind is to play video games. It’s a fantastic way for me to unwind and escape into a world of imagination and creativity. My favorite game at the moment is the Sims 4. I love the ability to fully customize my characters and create my own unique stories within the game. It’s the perfect escapist activity for me, and I find that it always has a calming and refreshing impact on my mood and energy.

If you could create a more accessible world, what might you design or put in place? As a black autistic woman, I am especially aware of the challenges that many people face in accessing resources and support, particularly those with disabilities or who identify as part of a marginalized community.

If I could create a more accessible world, I would work to create a society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, no matter their background or identity. Some of the things I might design or put in place to achieve this include:

  1. Increased funding for disability-related resources and services, including therapy, transportation, and supportive housing.

  2. Better education and outreach for those with disabilities, particularly around the social and emotional aspects of disability.

  3. Increased support for marginalized communities, including the black community and the LGBT+ community.

  4. Increased diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace, including more hiring of people with disabilities and more inclusive training and policies.

Overall, my goal would be to create a world where everyone feels a sense of belonging and where everyone has the ability to live their best life, regardless of their identity or their [dis]ability.

Final questions: what are the best ways to support you and get in touch if people want to collaborate, modeling-wise? If you or anyone else would like to get in touch or collaborate with me, my Instagram handle is @hesadiah. I would be happy to discuss any modeling opportunities or any other way we might be able to work together.

In addition to my Instagram account, you can also contact me through my business email (hesadiahcareers@gmail.com) which is included on my Instagram page. I am always open to receiving messages and inquiries from potential collaborators and supporters.

Photography by Gritchelle Fallesgon
Interview by Elea Chang

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