When I was two years old, I was diagnosed with a condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, more commonly known as Brittle Bone Disease. This means my bones can break very easily. By the time I was 14, I had broken my legs six times.
I am 3ft 10in tall, which presents many challenges on a day-to-day basis. Yet, it’s the barriers and biases I face that disable me – not my condition itself. For example, when I was 16 years old I felt ready to enter the world of work and started applying for part-time jobs. I included one sentence in my cover letter mentioning my disability but clarifying it would not affect my ability to do the job. More than 100 applications later and absolutely zero interviews, I decided to remove that one sentence. I was offered an interview straight away. This was a hard reality check for me and made me think: ‘People are either judging disabled people before they have even met us, or they have a pre-conceived stigma that we are high risk and won’t perform as well’.
Since then I’ve devoted my professional life to breaking down accessibility barriers for disabled people and amplifying the voices of people in over-excluded groups. I developed a support platform called the Asian Disability Network and organised the first-ever Asian Woman Festival. But over the years, as I found that TV presenting opportunities grew, the issue isn’t working out what to say, but working out what to wear.