In her Instagram bio, Natalie Trevonne lists the bible verse Romans 8:28-29, which can be interpreted as ‘through God’s purpose, all things are possible.’ This is a true testament to her story.
When Trevonne lost her vision at the age of 18, her life was upended. Although she was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis as a one-year-old, nothing could’ve prepared her to be forced to view the world in a different way, literally.
Always a performer, in high school she was a cheerleader, co-captain of her dance team, and member of the show choir. After graduating, she had plans to enter into public relations, a highly relational industry, to help curate brands. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out as planned.
“Honestly, when I was in high school, I fell in love with being a PR person or image consultant,” she shared with Essence. “After watching the television show ‘The Game’ and seeing what Dion did with Derwin, I thought that’s what I wanted to do. But at the time, I was slowly losing my eyesight. And at 18, I lost it completely and went into University right after that, which was very tough. It was a very hard transition from not walking assisted at all, to having to walk with the cane at all times. Even learning how to use the screen reader blind people use on their computers– it was all really tough.”
She attended Cal Poly Pomona, a polytechnic school in Pomona, California, ranked one of the best public universities in the region which posed an even bigger issue.
“It’s huge and there were so many students there that didn’t have experience being around a blind person their age– it was just really tough to make that transition.”
Despite the challenges, she forged on and received her degree in public relations and advertising in 2013, and had her sights on plunging headfirst into the industry right away. It didn’t quite work out that way. She said it was nearly impossible for her to land a job in the field she earned her degree.
“One day it just hit me– I could graduate in four years like everyone else, have a great GPA, be competent, have internship experience, and still society looks at me like, you can’t do the work because you have a disability. And not only that, I’m a Black woman,” she shared.
As she’d always been interested in fashion, Trevonne said she decided to use her Linkedin profile as a launching pad to reach out to people in the industry for opportunities. Soon after, she struck gold. Through her connections on the platform, she’s now able to design her first designer dress that will premiere later this month at the first meta-fashion week along with some high-profile names like Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, and more.
“It’s an NFT wedding dress, which is so advanced, but I’m incredibly honored and excited,” she shared. “I would’ve never been able to do it without Linkedin.
She said the opportunity is so much bigger than her.
“I’m building a platform to show the world, I’m so much more than my disability.”