When Carolyn Anderson and her daughter Maren went out to some shops, neither expected how impactful the trip would be. All around them, storefronts boasted models and posters, samples and swatches. All sorts of textures, colors, and sizes filled shop windows wherever they looked. But one window, in particular, caused Maren to stop everything and stare in awe. This came in the form of an Ulta model Maren was able to connect to in a very important way.
Maren’s eyes had landed on an Ulta model in a wheelchair exactly as Maren herself is. The young girl has not always been in a wheelchair, and this provides hardships of its own. Her mother admits Maren is still adjusting to using it out in public and navigating its movements in general. On that fateful evening, her daughter seemed particularly determined to navigate on her own with the wheelchair. Excited by her confidence, Anderson let her, watching closely as her daughter moved comfortably in front of her.
One impactful ad stopped Maren in her tracks
Only one thing caused Maren’s purposeful movements. She stopped immediately when her eyes caught sight of an Ulta model in a wheelchair, the pose and situation resonating with the young girl in a powerful way. A rare disease caused by a genetic mutation caused Maren to require a wheelchair, TODAY reports. That evening, she got to see someone else just like her proudly posing in her wheelchair.
Seeing this was important for Maren, and it was equally moving for mom. She recalled, “You could just tell that she identified with it from the get-go. And for her, a 4-year-old child … to sit there in awe at this photo for close to a minute was pretty profound.” The parent was so glad her daughter had such a moving experience, she recorded the event and posted a thank you to Ulta. As her devoted mother, Anderson has followed Maren’s journey closely and now sees how inspiration can come from outside sources for her little girl.
The Ulta model gave Maren’s family a bittersweet moment
“Our hearts sort of sank,” Anderson admitted, “because it’s such a wonderful feeling to see her do that, but then it also is somewhat saddening that this is so profound for her to see in public because of the lack of representation for the disability community, particularly for children.” Sometimes, the target audience takes the initiative. For now, though, Anderson still took to Facebook to say, “Well Ulta, you absolutely stopped my girl in her tracks this evening. It was mesmerizing to watch her stop, turn and gaze at this poster. So thank you ❤️”
Representation in ads and toys is still a growing field. People can find variety in different dolls, customized to look like them. They can sometimes see dolls with special needs that can reflect the owner. Even so, there is room for growth and for Maren to be so stunned by this sighting means more ads like this could be incorporated to really make young boys and girls feel included. Until then, Anderson’s picture of Maren’s awe has been shared 79,000 on Facebook, which provides some meaningful exposure on its own.