Ulta Beauty ad with woman in wheelchair captivates girl with rare disease

While the majority of cosmetic ads promote unobtainable beauty standards and feature a limited variety of models photoshopped to "perfection," some companies are making it their mission to be more inclusive. Ulta Beauty is one example, whose ad featuring a woman in a wheelchair made a big impact on a little girl seeking acceptance.

According to Carolyn Anderson, her four-year-old daughter, Maren, is a "dance-loving, baby doll-toting, bike-ridinglittle girl with the most infectious giggle and smile." She also has a rare disease caused by a gene mutation, so Maren uses a wheelchair and doesn't talk very much. "Since day one, she's shown great motivation and tenacity and worked hard to overcome the challenges of her rare disease,"Anderson told Scary Mommy. "All she wants is to be accepted for who she is, and represented like everyone else," her mother said.

Maren had been learning how to use her new wheelchair and was finally to the point where she was more comfortable going out with it in public. On one outing, Maren was completely taken aback by the Ulta ad. "On this particular evening, Maren was cruising on the sidewalk in her wheelchair with a confidence we had not seen before," Anderson told Good Morning America. "She was so eager, we could barely get her to stop at crosswalks. Then, she suddenly stopped and focused all her attention on this image of a woman in a wheelchair like hers. It was amazing."


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The moment was meaningful for Maren. She finally was able to see herself represented, fostering a sense of belonging in the young girl. "She got to see herself in this picture, and that planted a seed for her to see that there is a place for kids like her in this world. She was included," Anderson said.

Anderson posted a photo of Maren and her reaction to the ad on Facebook, and it's totally adorable. "Well Ulta, you absolutely stopped my girl in her tracks this evening," Anderson wrote. "It was mesmerizing to watch her stop, turn, and gaze at this poster. So thank you." The photo went viral. Over 79,000 people were mesmerized by the photo of Maren mesmerized by the ad.

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Anderson shared the photo to raise awareness of the importance of representation. "It is our hope that families who see images like the one at Ulta Beauty will have open and continued dialogue with their children about inclusion," Anderson said. "Our wish is that one day it won't be newsworthy to see our daughter and other people with disabilities represented, it will be commonplace."

Ulta Beauty reached out to Maren's family, and Maren will get to meet the model in the photo, Steph Aiello. It's a touching end to a touching story.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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