Model: Dena Cooper
Cerebral Palsy

I am 28 years old. I lived in Huntsville, but was born in Galveston because I was 12 weeks premature. I’ve lived in Austin six years.

In school, I did FFA. I showed chickens and got ninth place in Houston, and I got $3000! I’ve always been interested in horses. When I was little, my mom took me on the back of the horse because I can’t ride by myself. A neighbor made a special saddle for me. He was a paralyzed dude. I like riding horses most because it’s great ex-ercise. It’s good therapy for you. I like the interaction at RED Arena, too. They’re very nice and they help me a lot. My horse’s name is Hanz. It is Hanz in my photo.

When I’m at Mary Lee Foundation in Austin, I like to go to the movies. I like to keep a lot of friends. I live with six other ladies. I’m the youngest one there.
Bold means someone who is courageous. They are very confident. You still have to be confident to be beautiful. If you don’t think of yourself as beautiful, then nobody is going to see you as beautiful.

The message I’d like to send is that anybody can do anything if they put their mind to it. If I mess up, I can just try again and do it again. Because you can’t be perfect all the time.

“We need a world full of Denás!” Jennifer Young, RED Arena, Dripping Springs, Texas.



Photographed by Claire Porter