Life doesn’t end here … see this amazing person living her dream
BRISBANE MODEL, MAKEUP ARTIST, WRITER, PHOTOSHOP AND GRAPHIC ARTIST
WHY THE WHEELCHAIR?
I was not born with any physical challenges, these came later in life as a nine year old girl. At school I was an incredibly intelligent child, a straight A student who was always the first to raise a hand to answer questions or run to the head of the classroom to present my work. I was also athletic and loved dancing. Throughout school I suffered Asthma attacks almost daily, after athletic events I was put on the Ventolin machine frequently. On August 6th 1991 my life changed forever, at home in the evening I suffered such a severe Asthma attack and by the time I was rushed to hospital I was blue and declared dead on the table for several minutes. A Doctor did not give up with numerous injections to bring me back. When I came too, I was put on breathing machines in the I.C.U for 9 days. At the time there was no telling the severity of the damage caused. I spent weeks in the Children’s Ward with extensive physio, speech, and hand therapy. I had lost complete movement in my limbs, could not see or speak. I had a hard road ahead of me. I had a drip threaded through my nose and down my throat to feed me, due to losing all movement I could not swallow or chew on my own. It was later down the track that I was officially diagnosed with an Acquired Brain Injury & Parkinson’s Symptoms.
Over the years I underwent extreme Exercise/Physio and Speech therapies, I was doing close to five hours daily. It had me on my feet walking but it was that exhausting it was breaking me down mentally. I could not keep up the extensive work just to be able to walk without losing my mind. I slowly went backwards becoming close to completely being wheelchair bound. I was not giving up I just knew there had to be a limit to what I could endure.
I am now a thirty two year old young woman who lives independently. I can walk aided, I speak quite well. Well enough for people not to notice I had even lost full speech as a child. I use my wheelchair to get around mostly but when opportunity arises I am on my feet. Anyone who has a disability has an adjustment period for some they do not ever accept that their life has changed. For me it took close to nineteen – twenty years to embrace what had happened, what I could do & how I could possibly inspire others.
MY NAME HOTWHEELS
It was in 2007 that I moved to Brisbane, here I met an Artist who said to me one night. “You know what, you are not a Riki. You’re a Hotwheels” I asked him to explain further, I did not understand because I had close to no confidence, I had low self esteem & thought very little of myself. He said I was incredibly pretty, combining my nature, my beauty and my wheelchair I was dubbed Hotwheels. Since then I have used my name Riki Hotwheels to move forward and achieve my goals. As a child I was also known to be quite a poser, I loved to be in front of a camera so I set out to become a unique Model. I have been modelling professionally now since then. I used my networking skills on the internet to track down various photographers to build up my portfolio. Before my modelling took off I thrived on writing poetry, stories, anything I could put pen to paper on I would write so combining these two creative outlets I am now a well known model as well as a published writer. As soon as I started modelling I was introduced to Photoshop, to me this was a whole new World of where I could do anything. Since 2010 I have won upwards of over 5000 Awards for my Modelling & imaginative Photoshop work. I am a self taught Photoshop Artist, I cannot follow tutorials so I prefer on learning things for myself. I can also do makeup, I have always enjoyed dressing up and the makeup world. Given I did not have much money for photo shoots I began training myself in the makeup industry so I could do my own for the photographers I was working with. I now have multiple skills in these creative fields. (Model, Makeup Artist, Photoshopper, Graphic Designer, Writer) I have been fortunate enough to work with & meet some truly amazing people. I am so grateful to be doing what I love.
Having a physical challenge is a frustrating thing to live with but if you accept your limitations, do the best you can & are happy within yourself. You can achieve absolutely anything. I have days where my physical pain is so bad I cannot move. If you let these days affect you mentally it can put you in a negative mind state. I try to stay as positive as possible knowing the pain will pass & tomorrow is a new day. I like to say, “Deal with the cards you are dealt, the cards someone else can be a lot worse than yours. If you play your cards right, you will always be a winner!” Always believe in yourself, a positive mind can open your life to the most extraordinary things. 2015 for me I am hoping is going to be a sensational year for talents to shine.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story and thank you to PLV Photography for allowing the use of the photos snapped of me for this article.