Mackie Noel – Minnesota Interview by Olivia Bush Nomination by Olivia Hansen Photography by James W. Billson (above), Fred Sobottka, Jolanta Young Photography & Olivia Hansen Issue 36 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
The Nomination:Mackie Noel is not only an inspiration to me, but to many others. She has Autism, but she has not let that stop her from following her dreams and wanting to inspire others. She wants others to know, you can be what you want to be and do what you want to do, even with a "disability". She wants to start a blog about modeling and acting while being Autistic to help others find their path.
Image above: Photography by James W. Billson. This was a particularly long day. I changed 14 times.
Image by Fred Sobottka Photography. This image was taken at a fundraiser she helped organize at Wings of the North in Eden Prairie Minnesota.
How has Autism affected you growing up? I am not sure how it has affected me because it is my “normal”. I was not officially diagnosed until I was 11. I felt validated when I got the diagnosis; a lot of my life made sense then. I do have to work a little harder at some things than others might have to in the same situation.
I know that you model, how does having Autism affect you modeling? How is modeling for you different than for someone without Autism? Changing wardrobe is hard due to sensory issues. I have worked hard to find ways to cope with the changes. Sometimes, I still need to work hard and hold it together to get through shoots. Photographers have told me I bring a lot of creativity to shoots. Mom thinks that comes from me being Autistic and seeing things in a different light. Modeling can be challenging, even for those without Autism. We all work hard in our own ways to be the best we can be.
Photography by Jolanta Young of Jolanta Young Photography
What is a piece of advice that you would give others with a disability? Just keep working! You can get to your dream, even if it is difficult at first. It has taken me several years to get to a point where I could start doing photo shoots and get on stage for acting. Along the way, I wanted to quit, but my parents have always encouraged me to keep going. Now I want to encourage others to do the same!
Tell me more about the blog that you want to start. How did you get the idea? My mom thought it would be a great way for me to share what I have done. I hope it will inspire others to follow their dreams, no matter the obstacle. I want to share my journey, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I want others to see it and know that they can do it too!
Mom took this behind the scenes image on a shoot with Douglas Gustafson.
Why did you decide to volunteer with military families? Tell me more about what you do with them? My mom was a volunteer, so I just joined her. My favorite thing was hanging out at the coffee table and offering support to other families. Being part of a military family means we all work together to support one another.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans for the future? If I am not a full-time model, or actress, I want to be a forensic pathologist. I have always been fascinated by science, forensics, and puzzles. Being a forensic pathologist puts all of those together and I can help people.
Image by Mom. I was working with make-up to turn myself into a comic book image.
What is your favorite activity or pastime that wasn’t in your nomination? I love cosplay! I enjoy making costumes and doing special effects make-up. Especially, of my favorite characters.
Mackie Noel will be featured in issue 36 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!