Wheels UP! Photo Contest Celebrity Judge – Julienne Dallara

Julienne Dallara is a former dancer and single mother who works for the Ablities Expo

Online Exclusive posted Wednesday, August 22, 2018 – 2:20pm
Photo courtesy of Julienne Dallara

Julianne Dallara is a former actress, singer and dancer. Throughout her life she has been active, whether it was through her dancing, being a lifeguard or raising her two children. One day in 1996, Dallara woke up and was paralyzed from the waist down. After many days in the hospital, doctors were still confused what had caused her paralysis.

Photo courtesy of Julienne Dallara

It wasn’t until later that she was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, an inflammation of both sides of the section of the spinal-cord which interrupts that messages that the spinal-cord nerves send throughout the body. Despite her diagnosis, Dallara has continued to be active.

“I think it is important for people with disabilities to get out in the world for their own sense of confidence and perspective,” she says.  “The world outside one’s home is more hospitable and less scary that one would think. An ancillary benefit is to our fellow humans ­­– other people are ‘inspired’ by seeing us and they frequently remark ‘I thought I had problems, but now I see they’re not all that bad.’  Somewhat depressing to think of ourselves as someone else’s worst case scenario, but if it brings perspective to others, I believe that it is worth it.”

Dallara raised her two children alone and stayed active in any way she could. Dallara sold adaptive vans for 16 years. In 2012 she began working for the Abilities Expo as an independent contractor.

As for the winning photo, Dallara will be looking for one that is nice and in focus, creativity and a picture that tells a story. When it comes to making your trip more accessible in a place that might not be too accessible, Dallara says to compliment first, then point out what isn’t accessible.

“Say ‘your hotel is beautiful, and the people are so nice here!’” she says. “Then make your stand, ‘however, the bed is too high, and I can’t get onto it without risking a fall.  Could you please have maintenance come up and take the mattress off of the box spring so that your bed is a safe height for me?’ You have gotten them on your side with your first comment, then you present a reasonable solution to the problem to make it easy for them to help you.  Also, by using the words “risking a fall” and “Safe height” you are reminding them that they are opening themselves up for a law suit if they don’t comply. It works 98% of the time!”


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