What do you PUSH for?

Mia: I PUSH beyond my comfort zone to explore new adventures!
Angela: I PUSH for a more peaceful and happy world!
Chelsie: I PUSH to inspire others to live to their fullest potential!
Tiphany: I PUSH because stereotypes don’t define me!
Auti: I PUSH to command attention!

Who are these women? Sundance Channel calls them the Push Girls. Season One has come to a close but a second season is in the works and if you haven’t heard of them yet, it’s time to learn about these phenomenal women.

Push Girls is a 14-part reality television show that follows the lives of four women in Los Angeles. The common denominator is their wheelchairs, but the show is not about wheelchairs. “It’s about lives and how we live life to the fullest. We are four women living in this world trying to have a normal life,” says Angela, one of the Push Girls. We see both how the women perceive themselves and how others see them and their wheels.

Auti and Angela became friends first when working in the entertainment industry. Six years later, Mia took part in one of Angela’s acting classes. And four years after that, they met Tiphany, who now lives with Angela. Angela is the only quadriplegic of the group; the other three women are paralyzed in the lower body. And from this group of women, Push Girls was born. “We realized we had a kindred spirit of reaching out, inspiring, encouraging and motivating people. And we all have different walks of life, so much to share,” says Auti. A fifth Push Girl was added after the pilot: Chelsie Hill, a young performer who dances with Auti and Mia in a group called Colours ‘n’ Motion.

The show has had a huge effect on people in wheelchairs, as well as able-bodied viewers. “Other shows dealing with disability often either downplay or sensationalize what it means to use a wheelchair, but Push Girls is much more holistic” (New Mobility Magazine, June 2012). It’s a show that means something different to each person. For some, it’s about informing people about paralysis and spinal cord injury. For others, it’s about five independent women and their friendship. Maybe it is the truth about life in a wheelchair. No matter what you take from it, it’s a wonderful accomplishment. Its existence itself is exciting! This could be the start of much more inclusion in television.

And audiences are responding! Push Girls hit social media hard with their Facebook page, featuring Q&As with the 4 stars of the show, inspirational stories of other women or wheelchair users, the Push Girl hall of fame, and more. Fans have responded to the show in a huge way – social media blew up every Monday night and now the series has been renewed for a second season. People in wheelchairs are seeing themselves not only represented on television but celebrated, and these strong women are to thank. Creator Gay Rosenthal says “It’s real, it’s outspoken and it’s from the heart” and that’s why we love it! Congrats on your upcoming second season ladies!

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