model stories

Our Stories: Tanya Winters

Tanya Winters is a passionate 42-year-old woman living with Cerebral Palsy. She has a firecracker personality and a big heart. After earning a degree in Social Work, Tanya moved from Chicago to Austin where she discovered her inner disability advocate. Since then, she has built a solid career in disability advocacy, within which she encourages other people with disabilities to get involved in their community and speak out for what they believe in.

Tanya enjoys pushing the boundaries of art and disability through her work with VSA Texas, a statewide inclusive arts organization. She quickly moved from a scared young woman who read poetry with her back to the audience to a striking dancer who loves to perform. Tanya became a certified DanceAbility instructor in 2011 and spends her free time teaching, choreographing and performing.

Marilyn Monroe said, “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” Tanya sees this project as a direct reflection of Marilyn’s words and an important step forward for women with disabilities. It’s time for the beauty industry to see difference as an opportunity to empower women, rather than a weapon to shame them. One influential person in Tanya’s life was her grandfather. He told her she had a “super power” called fortitude just behind her belly-button. So, every time she’s nervous or scared, she reaches for that fortitude! “I can do this! I mean something! I am beautiful!”


Gale Wiley, Videographer

1 thought on “Our Stories: Tanya Winters

  1. Tanya Winters was a student of mine at Lincoln College many years ago. I would never forget her beauty, her spirit, and her inspiration. I cried when she left her wheelchair to walk across the stage for her diploma [valedictorian], and I have often thought of her. Thanks for this beautiful story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *