Nuria Lopez Fernandez is a 26 year old model and wheelchair runner. Nuria was involved in an accident five years ago — a car ran her over — that left her wheelchair bound. Always being an active person, Nuria adapted and re-learned how to do many sports from her chair. She began wheelchair running a year ago and hopes to continue in the sport for years to come.
BEING A WHEELCHAIR MODEL, WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU HOPE TO SEND TO OTHERS?
NF: The message I would like to send is that ‘we are normal’ and it to stop being a taboo thing in fashion. Unfortunately, in countries like Spain, there is still no real place for disabled models. I believe that you need promote an image of equality. We have the same right to wear a dress and we have no problem wearing high-heeled shoes or carrying a nice bag. We live in a world where there are fashionable models with vitiligo and down syndrome, but we still have yet to see many mainstream models in a wheelchair. It is not necessary to walk on two feet to feel beautiful, just roll on four wheels.
YOU’RE ALSO A WHEELCHAIR RUNNER, HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE SPORT?
NF: I started because I felt like I drew too much attention during other sports. It was a time in my life where I was ready for a change, initially I took long walks but one day I started running. This was in late January and in May I competed in my first race, the ‘Wings for Life World Run’. I placed second and since then I haven’t stopped. I had no training, the result was what encouraged me to continue. It brings me great satisfaction. Now I am seeking sponsors and hope to get a hand bike to compete soon. This year I also made the road to Santiago, over 100km of adventure and one of the best experiences of my life. A trip I hope to do again.
“If you want you can, and if you can then you should. For something to be real, you must first dream it.”
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
NF:The truth is, my grandmother is the one who gives me strength to continue. She died 6 years ago, but she’s the one who I try to make proud.