Model: Natalie Shabanov

My name is Natalie Shabanov, I’m from Panama. I am 21 years old and I am studying psychology at Thomas More University.

Why psychology? I was born with Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis, in other words, low vision. It was very difficult for me, since I was forced away from school to have a tutor, and they made me believe that I could not do things alone. Each year the tutors changed because they had an option that paid more and that was a blow to me, since I had to start from scratch with a new tutor and I had to explain my condition and we had to get used to each other.

I grew up with that help that is affecting me today, because I depend on people to do certain activities. Therefore, I decided to move to the USA alone to study and become independent. I am studying psychology because the one who does not live this situation, does not know exactly what help is necessary. I, who lived it, would like to help those people who need it in a positive way. If I am with someone who needs me, I will not look for other jobs since the change of my tutor each year affected me deeply. I know that the person who needs help needs it for more than a year. The Greatest Showman is my favorite movie since I love musicals, dances, and shows. My dream was to do something outside of what I’m used to doing, something different for me. I wanted to challenge myself, something that nobody thought I would ever achieve and I did it!


Photographed by Liz Pinto