There are certain members of our community that are an inspiration to many, including myself. Coquitlam, BC’s Jessica Kruger is one of them.
Last year, the 21-year old quadriplegic won a nation-wide competition to be the face of Lise Watier’s Something Sweet perfume. After a friend encouraged Jessica to enter the competition, community support and online voting got her to the top 5, but it was when she impressed the judges with her enthusiasm, positive energy and eloquence at Lise Watier’s Montreal headquarters that she won the coveted title.
I was first introduced to Jessica’s story while I was reporting for Global BC. She was in studio doing an interview to promote her campaign to win the Lise Watier competition and I remember how poised, determined and positive she was, especially when sharing her journey. When Jessica was 15, she fainted and fell from a ladder while painting a house for a summer job. As a result, she fractured four neck vertebrae, which deprived her from having full use of her arms and legs. Since then, Jessica has learned to accept her condition and lives her life to the fullest including becoming the youngest female wheelchair rugby player in Canada, all while finishing her undergraduate studies at SFU. She also speaks on behalf of Worksafe BC and the Rick Hansen Foundation. Now she can add beauty ambassador to that impressive list!
I recently had a chance to chat with Jessica during the London Drugs launch of the Something Sweet fragrance, and I left feeling so inspired, not only by what she has had to overcome but also by what she’s trying to instill in others. Here are some of the highlights from our interview:
How does it feel to come this far?
It’s kinda hard to describe the feeling, I’ve kept saying it’s going to sink in and suddenly I’d able to tell you how it feels but it still hasn’t sunk in. Obviously it’s been an incredibly humbling journey to get to this point, and just realizing all the support that I had behind me to get me to this point has been incredibly exciting.
Let’s go back to when you first started your journey to become the face of Lise Watier’s Something Sweet fragrance, why was it so important for you to enter this contest?
Obviously the big thing with this contest was that they were looking for a model, and when people think of “model” they don’t think of someone with a disability. Just entering it took a lot of courage on my part because I didn’t expect people to be behind me like they were, and then once I realized I had that support, it became this opportunity to educate people about what people with disabilities are capable of…what the definition of beauty is capable of being. It doesn’t have to be the stick-thin model that we’ve traditionally looked at, it CAN be somebody with a disability or people of different sizes- it’s the next step.
What are some of the misconceptions you’d like people to know about people living with a disability?
The biggest thing for me is that when people look at someone with a disability, they see them as less-than or incapable. For myself at least, I can do anything anybody else can do, just in a slightly different way. I don’t need people to look down on me, I don’t need their pity. I just want them to see me for myself. I want them to see that people with disabilities are just as capable as anyone else.
You’ve had a whirlwind adventure this year as Lise Watier’s beauty ambassador, from getting glammed up for photo-shoots to traveling across the country speaking to fans and the media. What are your favourite Lise Watier beauty staples to get you camera-ready?
Something Sweet perfume of course! I love the smell, it’s so pretty and feminine and it’s the perfect start to getting glammed up. I have also fallen in love with Lise Watier’s Eden Tropical Eyeshadow palette from the Summer 2014 collection. It’s the perfect combination of neutrals as well as bright colours for my eyes. Plus I love the shimmer the colours have, perfect for summer!
You’ve already become such a great role model for so many women and girls as Lise Watier’s beauty ambassador, what’s the next goal you’d like to conquer?
I don’t know where life is going to take me but I am one of those people that say yes to any opportunity that comes to my door. I am hoping that I can continue to say yes. I really didn’t believe that people were ready for someone with a disability to be seen as a model but I was completely wrong. It’s all those people who voted for me who got me into the top 5, it’s Lise Watier, a major cosmetic company who believed in me that all gave me this opportunity, and now I can spread the message that beauty has so many definitions.
To enter to win a bottle of Lise Watier’s Something Sweet perfume and the Eden Tropical Eye Shadow Palette from Lise Watier’s Summer 2014 collection, do all of the following:
- Follow @StyleByMana on Twitter
- Retweet the following on Twitter:
The inspiring story of @lisewatier #beauty ambassador Jessica Kruger & how to win her fav products via @stylebymana ow.ly/ymA2c
Contest closes on Thursday, June 26 at 11:59 pm. 1 winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!