‘I Motivate People To Move Out Of Their Comfort Zones’: Heena Sharma

Success Stories

According to Stephen Hawking, “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.” Too often, people view those with disabilities through a lens of pity or curiosity, questioning their potential, but breaking these negative stereotypes is Heena Sharma. She is a social media influencer, model, dancer, singer, and Top 10 finalist of Ms. Wheelchair India. Through her story, let’s understand the deeper meaning of what life is all about. 

  • Shed some light on what you do.

I am a social media influencer, model, dancer, singer, and Top 10 finalist of Ms. Wheelchair India. I have an 80 per cent locomotor disability due to muscular dystrophy.

I work as a Customer Service Officer at IndiGo and regularly share videos of my work on social media. My aim is to educate and inspire others interested in airport jobs, especially people with disability, who want to be more financially independent. When I was in college, I pursued singing lessons and began taking singing classes at home. During Lockdown, I felt the urge to break the monotony and started sharing my singing videos online. The positive feedback I received on social media boosted my confidence, motivating me to post lipsync videos. Over time, my Instagram account started to grow.

When my Instagram account reached over 5k followers, I received a barter collaboration from a brand that specialises in making customised soup. With utmost confidence, I provided a voiceover for the soup promotion, which they were very pleased with.  Subsequently, a reputable skincare brand in Bangalore contacted me. They offered me a variety of skincare products in exchange for creating three reels. This further led to more opportunities for me in the future.

Heena Sharma Wheelchair Influencer

  • How do you balance your various roles as a singer, model, and social media influencer?

Since I started collaborating, I’ve been fortunate to receive numerous paid offers. I credit all my success to my mother, she is the one behind the camera, helping me deliver my best performances. She takes well-shot footage so that I can edit my videos effectively. I work six days a week with one day off. I use my day off to create reels and catch up on pending tasks. 

Sometimes, I also create content at my office, focusing on empowering individuals with disabilities who may feel limited in their capabilities.

There was a time when my Instagram went down because I couldn’t upload content as my mother was unwell, making it hard to shoot videos. I had also been job hunting for about a year and a half without any luck, focusing on work-from-home opportunities. It was a tough time for me, with no income and nothing to keep me occupied. After a year and a half of job searching, I received a call from Delhi airport regarding a job, however, it wasn’t a work-from-home job.

Yet, I didn’t decline the job because I realised that it was time to step out of my comfort zone and work outside. I knew it would be challenging due to my 80 per cent disability, but I decided to take on the challenge. Then, I happily accepted the offer and cleared all three interview rounds. I was selected. My family encouraged me to give this job a chance. I agreed, wanting to ensure I wouldn’t have any regrets.

  •  What does living life to the fullest mean to you?

For me, living life to the fullest means seizing every opportunity and experience, regardless of the challenges we face in our daily lives. It involves pursuing your passions creating meaningful relationships, and prioritising your growth. Living to the fullest for me also entails speaking up for better accessibility, overcoming societal barriers and finding happiness in everyday moments.

When you live life to its fullest, you also appreciate your unique strengths and contributions and create a happy and fulfilling life on your own. Usually, I find joy whenever I create videos and get a chance to learn new things at work. 

  • What are your thoughts on the current state of inclusivity for people with disabilities in India? What changes do you believe are necessary to create a more accessible and inclusive society?

Even though our country is developing, I still feel that there is a lack of sensitivity towards people with disabilities and their needs. I also believe that everyone can contribute to change and help remove barriers. 

  • First, people need to understand the need for accessible parking and leave it for those who need it. 
  • Second, encouraging people with disabilities to participate in community activities by using accessible meeting and event sites is another solution.
  • Third, understanding your child’s curiosity about disabilities and people who have them.
  • Fourth, advocating a barrier-free environment and speaking up when negative words or phrases are used about disability. 

I have numerous examples where people with disabilities don’t have basic access. For instance,  many buses, trains, shopping centres or even restaurants don’t have ramps. In such situations, dependence on others becomes a necessity. I strongly believe that accessibility should not be an afterthought but a fundamental consideration to promote inclusivity and equal access to all.

  • Where do you see yourself in the next five years, both personally and professionally?

Over the next five years, I aspire to become a renowned content creator and advance to the role of Assistant Manager in my current job. I am determined to surpass these goals ahead of schedule through continuous learning and personal growth. Additionally, I aim to motivate others to push past their comfort zones and motivate the PWD community to embrace the world’s beauty and become the best possible version of themselves.

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