Hermon and Heroda are content creators and disability advocates via their blog and Instagram. The deaf twins, who’ve worked with the likes of MAC Cosmetics, are all about fierce fashion, clearing up stereotypes and changing perceptions.
“When we started [studying fashion], we were suddenly thrown into the hearing world. We felt people often looked down on us because they didn’t have any awareness of what deafness meant, and that really affected our confidence. But, the doubters gave us determination to succeed and fulfil our dreams.
“Being deaf is not the problem; it’s [the perception] and barriers we face every day that are the problem. We want to encourage all women to gain confidence and learn that anything is possible. We also want to promote awareness and highlight discrimination, especially ableism and audism – discrimination against deaf or hard of hearing [people].
“We see [being deaf] as an advantage. With our hearing diminished, our other senses become heightened, so our touch, taste and vision can appreciate aspects that a hearing person maybe wouldn’t. There are lots of misconceptions, like that deaf people can’t do the same things as hearing people. Yes, they can! They can drive, dance, appreciate music. They can do everything except hear; that’s it.
“Haben Girma was the first deaf-blind student to graduate from Harvard Law School in 2013. Now, this amazing Eritrean-American woman is fighting for better accessibility and education for other deaf-blind people around the world. When we’re complaining or thinking of an excuse for why we can’t do something, we always think of Haben Girma because her story gives us the inspiration to push through. She’s a great role model for people with disabilities, as well as those without.
“It’s very important to celebrate disability because knowledge is power. Education and awareness are key to making our society more accessible for all. There are 466 million people in the world who are deaf or hard of hearing. It’s so important to educate about the communication issues they struggle with every day… and improve [their] lives by removing [those] barriers.
“Be aware, always ask, unlearn stereotypes, use your privilege and be an ally. Respect the experiences of people with disabilities and hire or promote them. [Consider] how your words or actions can affect others. Show compassion and understanding. With encouragement, people of any identity or community will excel.”