At 9, Jasmin Britney was like other girls her age discovering their interests. However, the Barbie-loving girl didn’t know her life would change one day in 1998 when she crossed the road to buy Spice Girls lollipops from the local sweet shop. A driver, who was using his phone, hit Jasmin and severed her spinal cord, leaving her immobilized from the chin down. She recalled the accident to Metro.
“As a huge Spice Girl fan I wanted to collect all the Spice Girls stickers that came with the lollipops. The shop was pretty near to our home but there was one road that I needed to cross and that was the place where the accident happened. I was hit by a car while crossing the road. The driver was texting when the car hit me and he told the police that he couldn’t do anything; it was already too late.”
The doctors attending Jasmin said it was a miracle that she managed to pull through. Despite being quadriplegic, Jasmin, who was born as Jasmin Katarina Koskirantra in Finland, did not succumb to self-pity. She now posts photos of her dolled-up self online because she wants to inspire those with debilitating conditions. She aims to show them that life can still be beautiful after a tragedy.
That life-altering occurrence also prompted her to be a counselor for charities. Wings for Life is one of the non-profit groups that she supports. As if her plate isn’t full yet, Jasmin is also attending the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences. She relies on a mouth-operated computer stick and a special blow straw to take notes during lectures.
She is deemed as the world’s sole quadriplegic Barbie, but how did she discover that it was her life’s calling?
After realizing the extent of her injury, Jasmin initially felt insecure. She felt like she couldn’t look attractive anymore, and this thought only worsened as she got older. While it took quite some time, she finally embraced the idea that her paralysis shouldn’t define her as a person.
She then asked her round-the-clock carer, Henriikka, to help her experiment with fashion and cosmetics. Jasmin claims they spend at least 45 minutes for her makeup routine, but for a look that completely details Barbie or Britney’s appearance, the process takes three-to-four hours. A hair stylist also visits from time to time to ensure that her hair remains “Barbie blonde perfect.”
Most of her clothes and cosmetics are from the internet. She also buys shoes because she wants to be prepared once she’s able to walk again. Doing all these things gives her the confidence to share her life message. She’s still shocked whenever she receives hundreds of likes for her looks shared online.
“I was getting hundreds of likes and people complimenting me on my look and courage. I was getting emails asking what makeup I used and where I got the dresses. It inspired me to continue. I get such positive responses from people who see me suffering from a range of life-altering diseases and accidents. I do this for them and myself.”
A physiotherapist visits Jasmin five times a week, and even if she may not regain her mobility, she remains happy that she is somehow making a difference.
“I knew I was one day going to help others injured like me and that’s what I am doing. I realized by the looks on my parents’ and brothers’ and sisters’ faces I would have to be strong not just for myself but also for them, so I turned to my favorite dolls and fairy tale for inspiration. My Barbies, Cinderella and other fairy tale books.”
It isn’t everyday that people encounter a glammed-up quadriplegic, and Jasmin has no problem with those who express shock whenever they see her. For her, what’s important is that she’s able to raise awareness about quadriplegia, and at the same time, empower people like her.
“I know some people see Barbie and Britney as vacuous but for me they’re inspirational. I refuse to not look glamorous just because I am in a wheelchair,” she said.
[Image via Jasmin Britney, Facebook]