It all started with a Twitter post — a photo Nila Morton shared of herself feeling beautiful in her wheelchair.
Morton, a 21-year-old Greenville native who was born with a rare condition called Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy, was nervous about posting it because it was out of her comfort zone. She expected to be judged.
“I was nervous, but I had to think about people,” Morton said in an email. “I decided that I needed to break barriers and promote change because this can go a long way.”
That February 2020 tweet not only wound up going viral with more than 491,500 likes and thousands of supportive comments, it launched Morton’s modeling career, which now includes a partnership with the lingerie brand Savage X Fenty by Rihanna.
A student at USC Upstate, Morton said she had always wanted to model but thought it was an impossible dream because “society only sees beauty in certain standards.”
“Now that I am modeling, it’s a dream come true,” she said. “I may be starting small, but I’m breaking barriers.”
Morton said she’s used Twitter for years to advocate for people with disabilities and educate followers about ableism (the discrimination or prejudice against disabled individuals).
Twitter has also given Morton the chance to use her voice and stand up for herself, which can be hard to do “in real life.”
Morton is already making an impact. She’s among the women Twitter is spotlighting during Women’s History Month who are using the platform to make a difference in the world.
“My voice has given [other disabled people] the opportunity to stand up for themselves, be proud of who they are and understand that just because we are disabled doesn’t mean we are incapable of living our best life,” Morton said.