now holds the title of Ms.
1st Runner Up to Ms. Wheelchair America
the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
was born with Arthrogryposis (AMC). AMC occur once in every 3,000
births. At birth, doctors suggested that Jennifer's limbs be amputated
but her father refused. From birth through age 8, she went through
several major surgeries to improve her mobility. She had already proven
the doctors wrong by learning to write, stand to transfer and swim.
Jennifer's inabilities have never stopped her from breaking barriers,
overcoming adversity and living her life to the fullest.
is the oldest of six children and was raised in a family that saw her
differences as something that made her unique. Being a child with a
disability outside of her home wasn't as easy. There were many
prejudgments Jennifer faced growing up.
discovered her passion for music and theater by the time she was in
kindergarten. She began singing in the church choir at Holy Innocence
Catholic Church in Long Beach at age 6. After realizing that singing was
something she enjoyed, she joined local theater groups and school choir
and even played drums in the orchestra. Being a professional singer and
performer was a secret dream of Jennifer's. She didn't think that
society would accept a performer in a wheelchair. When it came time for
Jennifer to go to college she decided to pursue music education. This
still allowed her to study voice as she did at Riverside Community
College. In 2000 Jennifer moved and continued her education at Long
Beach City College and voice lessons at CSULB.
two years of doing something she wasn't passionate about, Jennifer
decided to branch out into the performing world and audition. Her first
audition was for Warner Bros. Reality TV Show "PopStars2". Jennifer made
the first two episodes and created a buzz as "the girl in the
wheelchair" in TV Guide, Variety Magazine and other local papers.
Jennifer's confidence and will to live her dream grew and she began
taking more time to audition. In 2002, after an extensive audition
process, Jennifer was cast by internationally recognized director of
opera and theater, Francesca Zambello, in Disney's "Aladdin; A Musical
Spectacular", making her the first performer in a wheelchair in a Disney
Theme Park. Jennifer represents the disabled community to 8,000 people a
day. She is proud to bring inclusion of the disabled community in an
able bodied world. She continues to perform and had done so in venues
such as the Stella Adler Theater, the Staples Center and the Kodak
the First Runner Up for Ms. Wheelchair California 2009, Jennifer was
blessed with numerous opportunities to educate California on it's vast
disabled community sharing with them "just how able we are". She has
even had the opportunity to do fun and awesome things. She helped
Habitat for Humanity of Los Angeles build a home in Downey, surfed with
Life Roll On, and has spoken to the East Fresno Kiwanis Club, Disney's
CastAble Group, Boeing and parents of children with Arthrogryposis. She
is also Chief Editor of Disabled Guides for notanotherguide.com,
providing online travel guides for visitors with disabilities. Jennifer
is involved with the Special Olympics in Long Beach as a performer and
in Orange County as Stage Manager for the fall Opening Ceremonies 2009.
She also received the "Jerry Stein Independent Living Award" this year
through the Disabled Resource Center in Long Beach, California.
was recently crowned at the Abilities Expo in Los Angeles, California.
"It is an honor and a privilege to represent the disabled community of
California." She represented California at the Ms. Wheelchair America
Pageant in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jennifer came back the 1st Runner Up
to Ms. Wheelchair America and the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement
currently resides in Long Beach California. In her free time she enjoys
painting, road trips, surfing & spending time with family &
friends. "I want to continue encouragement to those with disabilities so
they they may empower themselves to break barriers & turn their own
dreams into reality. With faith in yourself & determination, it can