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Author Visit: Melissa Blake

May 2 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Paris Hilton claims to have invented the selfie, but Melissa Blake – freelance writer, activist, influencer, pop culture maven, and child of the 90s – certainly re-invented it as a tool for affirming human dignity with her #MyBestSelfie campaign for disability representation and pride. Melissa joins us to discuss her book Beautiful People: My Thirteen Truths About Disability.

In Beautiful People: My Thirteen Truths About Disability Melissa shares her story, highlights other activists in the movement, and issues a clarion call for the disabled community and allies to fight against ableism in our culture and our physical spaces.

Melissa has written for The Washington Post, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many other outlets about celebrities, fashion, and pop culture. But it was a political piece she wrote for CNN Opinion that changed her life. When internet trolls disagreed with the views she expressed, they attacked her viciously: not her argument, but her physical appearance.

Melissa was born with Freeman-Sheldon syndrome, a genetic condition that causes muscle contractions throughout her body, including her face. The trolls were merciless and when they told Blake never to post her photo on social media, she decided to do just the opposite: She posted one selfie a day for 365 days, earning fans worldwide and getting a book deal.

In Beautiful People readers will discover:

Blake’s powerful journey from internalized ableism to claiming self-love and activism
How Blake was impacted by her father’s untimely death; how siblings and parents are impacted by disability
Why Blake has been called “a down-home Carrie Bradshaw” – why she advocates for adaptive fashion and how she came to star in her first fashion show during the depths of the pandemic
Important insights from the disability community, incorporating the work of disabled activists and creatives like Carly Findlay, Imani Barbarin, Alyssa Higgins, Jillian Mercado, Nic Novicki (Founder of the Disability Film Challenge), and many more
Why disabilities are not the problem – the problem is a world designed as if no one has a disability (though 1 in 4 people do)

This program is free and open to all. No registration is required.

For additional information, please contact Samantha at samanthah@dkpl.org or at (815) 756-9568 ext. 1701.


May 2
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


DeKalb Public Library
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DeKalb Public Library
309 Oak St
DeKalb, IL 60115 United States
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(815) 756-9568
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