Sexy, spirited… and paralysed from the neck down: Meet the wheelchair-bound stars of a groundbreaking new reality show
As any aspiring actor will no doubt testify, carving a career in Hollywood is tough. So imagine the challenge if a hopeful were paralysed and confined to a wheelchair.
A new show based on just that scenario is set to be the next big thing in reality TV.
Push Girls, which will air on the Sundance Channel in April, follows the personal lives of four wheelchair-bound women as they negotiate familiar struggles from motherhood to relationship break-ups.
No limits: New reality series Push Girls stars, from left, Mia Schaikewitz, Auti Angel, Angela Rockwood and Tiphany Adams, who are all wheelchair-bound and paralysed from the neck or waist down
The women say it was the producers' honest, straight-talking approach that convinced them to take part in the 14-episode series.
Angela Rockwood, 36, was an actress
who appeared in The Fast and the Furious before a 2001 car accident left her
without the use of her torso, arms or legs.
'I'm a quadriplegic, so I need more assistance than the other girls,' she told the New York Post.
need someone to come in and catheterize me. I need someone to bathe me.
I need someone to lotion me up…This is my reality, and it was
important that the show capture that.'
Always a dancer: Auti Angel, 42, worked with Milli Vanilli in the early Nineties, before a car smash in 1992
Ms Rockwood may not be able to wash
or go to the toilet without help but the main issue consuming her life
is more commonplace – a divorce.
think the common denominator with us is our wheelchairs,' she adds of her co-stars. 'But it's not
about the wheelchair. It's about our spirit, and how we just live life
to the fullest.'
Honest approach: Angela Rockwood, 36, appeared in The Fast and the Furious before a 2001 car accident left her without the use of her torso, arms or legs
Adams, 28, survived a drunk-driving crash in her senior high school year
that left three of her friends dead. She was given a five per cent
chance of living by doctors.
She told the paper: 'Most people would want to give up. But all four of us girls chose to triumph over the tragedy.'
Indeed, Auti Angel, 42, was a
successful hip-hop dancer who worked with Milli Vanilli in the early
Nineties, before a car smash in 1992.
'I was J Lo before J Lo,' Ms Angel told website disaboom.com. 'I
danced with LL Cool J. I went on tour with rap artists and I was about
to sign a record deal as part of an all-Latin female Hip Hop group.
'Then, the tragic car accident happened, severing my spinal cord and
leaving me wheelchair bound.'
being dropped by the record company because they were not 'willing to
wait [for her recovery]', Ms Angel's energy and dynamism has never
'Once a dancer, always a dancer,' she said. 'The spirit of dance never dies, no matter what happens to your body.'
her castmates, Ms Angel's goal will be more familiar to the show's
audience – one of trying to get pregnant and start a family.
The final member of the cast is Mia Schaikewitz, 32, a former competitive swimmer,
who lost the use of her legs after a rare type of brain haemorrhage at the age of 15.
the show, Miss Schaikewitz assesses the break-down of her relationship
with her able-bodied boyfriend and faces swimming again for the first
time since her accident.
Brave hearts: Model Tiphany Adams, 28, survived a drunk-driving crash in her senior high school year. Mia Schaikewitz, 32, a former swimmer, lost the use of her legs after a brain haemorrhage at the age of 15
Producer Gay Rosenthal, who was also behind hit series Little People, Big World, says Push Girls is a groundbreaking idea.
am always trying to forge new frontiers,' she told the New
York Post. 'I started developing this show as soon as I met the girls.'
But she added that the concept of a reality television show about four wheelchair-bound women was a hard one to sell.
'There definitely were some [networks] who didn't know what to do with' the show, she admitted.