Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tiphany Adams - Pushing the Boundaries of Society

It’s rare in life when you come across someone that you immediately connect with. Someone who feels like a friend the moment that you speak. Someone you understand and relate to. I felt it when I spoke to Tiphany Adams for the first time.

If you haven’t seen the show Push Girls, I suggest you stop what you’re doing right now and pull it up on Netflix. If that means coming back to finish this article, I'm fine with that.

As I sit here preparing myself for our interview, I’m curious to see how she will be without editors controlling how she comes across the screen. It’s 9:45 at night, and I’ve just left the office. I didn’t have to work late. I wanted to. I know that most normal people would be home resting by this hour, but I can’t seem to deter this urge to push myself and to learn. I ask her if she is still available to chat, and she tells me the timing is perfect. It gives her time to get home from the gym. Ahhhh. - She’s one of us.

Tiphany is a firecracker, witty and outgoing. I loved her confidence and personality on the series, but over the phone it became very clear. I wasn’t speaking only to some reality television personality. I was speaking to a presence. One of those rare people that when they say something, you listen.  The first thing I noticed about her was that she laughs… a lot, and conversations with her feel like you’re catching up, and not like you’re speaking for the first time.

Overall it was probably one of the most natural and genuine conversations I’ve had since I moved to Los Angeles, and for that I am grateful. I appreciate those who are deeper than the surface, inquisitive and leaping bounds to make sure they’re everything they’ve ever dreamt of being in life, as well as inside themselves.

I suppose I could continue telling you how great she is, but instead… I’ll let you read it for yourself.

I am happy to bring you, Tiphany Adams – Push Girl – Inspiration.

Tennessee Martin - I’m sure a lot of my readers already know who you are, but this might be their first chance at a formal introduction. Share something about yourself.

Tiphany Adams – Let’s see… I’m very spiritual, and I love being outdoors. I don’t know if the series really shows that part of me, but It definitely expresses that I’m family oriented. I go to Barnes and Noble sometimes and I’m there for like 3 hours reading. I’ll go to spiritual hippy stores with stones and sit around reading about chakra’s and aura’s. Overall I feel the show portrays me quite well, it just doesn’t always go in depth. I’ve got a funny smart-ass side too, but they don’t show all of it. Some… but not all.

TM - How did you get involved with Push Girls?

Tiphany – I moved to Los Angeles almost six years ago. Within three days I ended up meeting another girl in a wheelchair at an abilities expo. I figured it would be good for me to connect with other people, so that’s when she invited me to a house party at Angela’s.  Later that night she invited me to go to the rainbow roomI actually got pretty excited, because I thought it was a gay restaurant or something. There I got to meet Mia and some of the other girls in our wheelchair community. That’s when Angela and I became friends. Then Angela had a concept for a show, and we ended up pitching this idea for I want to say... a year? And then one day it got picked up by Sundance…

TM – Wow, that’s so cool. So you guys actually came up with it on your own?

Tiphany – Yeah. Angela came up with this idea that was going to be based around her love story, and then our friendship was going to be the  “B” story. But you know how production is with the networks, they make changes… so the story just sort of took another spin. Then it became based on our challenges, and what we do in our daily lives. People think they just threw us together as a cast, but some of these girls have known each other for thirteen years. I’m the newbie.

T M - No wonder it seems so genuine.  It's great to have that kind of support. You were in a car accident, which left you in a wheelchair. It changed your life forever, but not necessarily the way a lot of people would think. Since your time on the show, you have become a physical, mental, and emotional inspiration to thousands of people.  How do you feel the accident changed you?

 Tiphany – Sighs Wow, that’s really good. That question. You know, I call it my divine intervention, because the path that I was on was definitely quite destructive and it was somewhat aimless. I knew what I wanted to do, and achieve in life; which is help the greater good and bring the message of truth and love and light to the entire globe. I wanted that to take place, and basically what ended up happening is the accident. It was like an awakening… you know? Like a gift. The wheelchair is something that I’m blessed to have now, because people are really listening to my voice and my story. My message has always been the same. It’s all about love. 

TM - It must be difficult to put your life out there for the world to see.

Tiphany – It’s not very difficult for me, Mia on the other hand it’s tough for her to give up her privacy. But for me it wasn’t difficult, because I tend to be optimistic and just look at it through the perspective of "I need to give up my privacy and little moments so I can share them with the world. So they can learn from my experiences." I’ve known since I was fifteen years old that I was going to be a teacher, because I love learning. The two go hand in hand.

TM - When season one premiered in 2012, lesbians around the world loved learning that you are also a lady lover. You’re very open to love and equality with any gender. How long have you “known”?

Tiphany Adams – Since I was around 12 and saw Victoria Secret Magazine, and Glamour magazine. That’s when I really knew. I remember I had the biggest crush on Alyssa Milano.


Tiphany Adams  - Right?! And then I kissed a boy, and thought it was gross. Then I kissed a girl, and wanted to do it again! Ha!

T M - We've all been there before. Was coming out to your friends and family difficult for you?

Tiphany Adams – It’s interesting, because I can remember when I was younger I came out to a few of my friends and some of them started acting differently and stopped changing around me and stuff. All I could think was “are you kidding me? I would never look at you like that.”

TM – I went through the same thing in high school. They assumed that because I date women, I must be attracted to everyone with boobs.

Tiphany Adams – Yeah, but then I had other friends, my best friend Gina, and friends Nicole and Heidi they were fine with it. They just said “That’s you. That’s just who you are.” My dad didn’t really get it at first. I think he finally put it together when I was around twenty? He basically said he didn’t care if I loved a purple shoe as long as it loved me back.

TM – That’s incredible. I love that. What advice do you have for other women (or men) who are going through their own “coming out” process?

Tiphany Adams - Another good question. I feel like I could have avoided a lot of turmoil within and wouldn’t have struggled as much if I could have openly just been like “Dad, this is who I am”, but I think that everyone has their own time where they have to deal with that reality of accepting who they are. It was really profound what my best friend Gina told me. She said “Tiphany, the only one I think is really having a hard time accepting this is you. You seem to be so concerned with what other people, friends or family members are going to think of you, but if they all seem to be ok with it, maybe it’s something you’re dealing with internally.” I realized she was right.

TM – I dealt with the same thing.

Tiphany Adams -  Yeah. I mean everyone deals with their own thing, and we all deal differently.  I think you just have to be honest with yourself and everyone else. That’s what sets you free. And it doesn’t have to take that long. If everyone wouldn’t be so hard on themselves, and judging themselves…. If we erase that picture of what we think perfection is, we realize that’s not what life is about. We’re all human beings. We’re all beautiful spirits, and it’s about connecting to one another on a deeper level.    

TM – I absolutely love your perspective. You know, I loved the episode where you and Mia went speed dating. I agree that five minutes is a long time to talk to someone you don’t know under pressure. If you had an ideal five-minute conversation with someone… and wanted to connect on a deeper level, what ten topics would you want to cover?

Tiphany Adams – Five minutes and ten topics? That’s thirty seconds per topic!

TM – It’s speed dating! Isn’t that the point? Fine. I’ll let you pick five.

TIphany Adams – No. I can come up with ten easily. Let’s see… Spirituality. Sexual Preference. Ethnical background. Family Values. I would ask what they were passionate about. What their career choice is. Whether or not they’ve traveled. Their educational background, whether they’ve went to college or not, and if so I would ask what they’ve studied. Whether or not they’ve ever dated anyone in a wheelchair. (*She laughs*)… And where they see themselves in the next five years.

TM -  All great topics. You can get a strong sense of someone’s core based on questions like those. I know all of my loyal followers would love to know what your idea of a perfect date consists of. How can they win your heart?

Tiphany Adams – Ah! There are so many things! I like adventure a lot, so something outdoors would definitely be a number one for me. Something active whether it’s kayaking, or horseback riding and maybe a picnic. Like a surprise picnic… you know, where I don’t know what’s in the basket, but it happens to be all of my favorite things. And you know what I think would be more romantic than watching the sunset, would be watching the sunrise. I’m not sure how we’d get all of that in there. It might have to be an all night date. Then you get to sleep under the stars right?

TM – That is easily the best answer I’ve ever heard for that question. I love it. You’re so certain. So sure of yourself, and everything else. In season one you and Auti take Chelsea to get her first pair of heels, and you talk about feeling sexy again for the first time. Do you think that feeling sexy is a dress, a mentality, a reaction?  What advice do you give other women to help them exude that inner confidence that you have?

Tiphany Adams – It’s definitely internal, but there are certain things that spark and ignite that feeling, whether it be a pair of heels, or an amazing new lip gloss. For me, I feel the sexiest after a great workout when I’m really sweaty.

TM – How can they find what makes them feel sexy?

Tiphany Adams – I am a firm believer in thinking about the things that you want instead of the things that you don’t want. Exude joy, and love, and happiness, because that is what is going to attract the kind of people that you want around you. And also, certainly taking care of yourself and minding the foods that you are ingesting. Eating garbage and grease will just make you feel weighed down. Meditation. Staying active. These are the things that really affect our confidence and happiness.  Surround yourself with people who are like-minded and support your mission.

TM - You’re such a great role model for so many women. What is that like for you?

Tiphany Adams – It’s an honor… It truly is. It’s just an honor to be able to help someone on their journey to a place where they’re becoming who they are truly meant to be and help them feel comfortable in their own skin.

TM – What would you say makes you truly happy?

Tiphany Adams - I love, love. I know it sounds silly because it seems so simple, but I really do. Sometimes I get on a little detour with it and I don’t focus on myself as much as I should.  I think so many women do that. But it’s really important to stay focused. Self-love is so hard for some women to obtain, but it’s something everyone has to work at daily. Loving myself and loving others. That’s what truly makes me happy. I also like to read and to learn. I think I do it because I get bored to be really easily to be honest. That’s why I like doing the filming and modeling stuff. It’s always exciting, new and different.

TM – I know exactly how you feel.

Tiphany Adams – What sign are you?

TM – Pisces.

Tiphany Adams – No you’re not!

TM – What? Whoa…. What’s wrong with being a Pisces?

Tiphany Adams – It’s just a pisces nature. We’re very emotion driven.

TM – Wait. You’re a Pisces too?

Tiphany Adams – Yeah, March 5th.

TM – SHUT UP. That is my birthday.

Tiphany Adams – NO! That’s so random!

TM – I think you’re the first person I’ve met that shares my birthday.

Tiphany Adams – Yeah, because it’s not common at all. I know how to read charts, it’s like a hobby of mine… But March 5th is the day of Agony and Ecstasy. We feel things to the highest high, and then to the lowest low.

TM – You are blowing my mind right now.

Tiphany Adams – It’s true, the colors on our palette are just so bright, but then there’s the darkness so there is that contrast. 

TM – Ok, so I think we just became best friends, and I hope you’re fine with that, because I don’t know anything about astrology. I’m totally going to force you to share some of this information.

Tiphany Adams – Of course! People tell me all the time that it’s going to be part of my job at some point in the future.

TM – Wow. We will talk more about this later. Reeling it back in, tell us what you’re up to besides the show. What can we expect from you in the future?

Tiphany Adams - I just did Wish Upon a Teen, which is a foundation for teenagers that are dealing with Chronic Illnesses. I got to design 3 rooms with amazing kids who haven’t gotten to leave that space. I know what it was like to be in a hospital for a long time. It’s very cold and drab, and there is nothing personal about being there, so I got to help change that for some of them. I’m an ambassador for the foundation and it’s something I’m really passionate about. I am also a new sponsor for Permobil’s standing wheelchair. It's great for my bone density, and just being able to stand and look people in the eye when I speak to them... There are other things to look forward to that  I can talk more about in the future.

TM – You’re such an incredible inspiration, and it’s truly refreshing to see someone giving so much of themselves back… You have a good heart. Thanks for sharing it with me. 

And when I finally hung up the phone after she told me a random fact about the Earth’s electromagnetic frequencies, and something else about the black moon, I laid there on my bed smiling. Thankful for where I was and what I was doing. Where I was going… What I was learning... about life in general, because that’s what women like Tiphany make you do. They make you appreciate life, think outside of your boxes, and pursue your goals despite the obstacles. They force you to test your own hypothesis and grow in your answer. They give you that extra push…

Follow this Push Girl on Instagram and Twitter at @tiphanyadams.

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