NEW YORK - At 25 years old, Stephanie Debes is like any other young woman in so many ways, but she has faced battles most people her age could never imagine.
“I was born with cerebral palsy," said Debes. "I was five months premature and they told my parents that I had three days to live and here I am defying the odds 25 years later."
The Staten Island native has lived her life in a wheelchair, but she never let her challenges define her.
Debes has been chasing her dream of becoming a makeup artist and says makeup is one of the few activities she can do without help from anyone else.
“It’s sad I have so much potential that everyone just brushes to the side when they see the wheelchair and they’re so afraid to hire somebody that’s like me, where they don’t realize that I might have something better than an able-bodied person has," Debes said.
After several attempts to land a job at different makeup stores, Debes decided to start her own business called Makeup on Wheels.
She went and got a degree in makeup artistry and has been volunteering her services at charity events.
“No matter what your disability is, because everybody has a disability in some way, it doesn’t matter what it is, you are your own person and the world is your stage. So all you have to do is just believe in yourself.
”Debes’ goal is to eventually open up a salon devoted to people with disabilities. She wants to make them feel pampered, beautiful and independent, which is the way she feels about herself.