You know, when you point out that my mum had me at fifteen, the only option at that point is welfare or the street. We were poor, we lived in the projects, we didn’t even own a car. I had a prostitution ring on my street corner, there were drug addicts in my ally way. Working class kid, growing up on the south side of Chicago, growing up with doubts and fears just like all of you all do. I was raise in a very domestic violence home and my mum was a very high yelling woman so bruises show up on her quickly. When I was fourteen years old I became pregnant. I was probably as poor as you can go without being homeless in the UK. I had no prospects, I had no agent, I had no money. I didn’t come from that environment that just sets me up for success. I was poor, because I didn’t have anything I had no money, I had no things, we had no TV, we had no refrigerator, we had nothings as kids but I was rich because I had a dream. I had a dream of becoming the greatest bodybuilder and I had a dream to use bodybuilding as a means to get into films but I had no idea that it would go as far as it did. If I took you to where I grew up, the odds on me getting form there to here is not something you would have bet on. Don’t allow anybody, friends, family, even your parents to tell you you’re aiming to high because if you look my story, it’s not a Hollywood movie, its real, it’s authentic and it happened to me, I’m not smarter than anyone else and it can happen to you. I always say if I can do it, anyone can do it and the reason that I always say that is because I didn’t grow up with things being handed to me, I had to work hard, I had to dedicate myself and I had to be determined and I was. When you see transition really start to happen, when you really want to transition in something, master it There’s no limits, don’t let the world ever put limits on you. You can do anything you want to do but make sure if you have a vision, make sure the vision is written. People often want to call me the exception ‘like omg you’re the exception.’ No, I’m not the exception. I’m an average, ordinary woman, who chose every day to make one more extraordinary decision. I have not allowed my disability to stop me doing most things. I feel a sense of achievement that I have managed to make these contributions despite having ALS. I feel like anybody can do anything they set their mind to and it depends on how bad you want it and I wanted to do it. You know, at this stage in my life I don’t feel like there’s too much that I can’t do I don’t mean to sound cocky or nothing but if I really, really want to do it, I don’t give up that easy. You have a good chance at making some of your wildest dreams come true. Most people don’t even try sadly. Most people try and then stop and give up. Very few people try and try and try or do and do and do and never give up. You have to realise that there’s always work to do and you want to be the hardest working person in whatever you do and you’ll put yourself in a position to be successful. And you have to have a passion about what you do and basketball was mine and that’s what’s carried me to this point. Conscience shouts here’s what you should you while your intuition whispers here’s what you COULD do. Listen to that voice that tells you what you could do. Nothing will define your character more than that. People say you have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing Because it’s so hard that if you don’t, any rational person would give up. It’s really hard and you have to do it over a sustained period of time, so if you don’t love it, if you’re not having fun doing it and you don’t really love it, you’re going to give up and that’s what happens to most people actually.
If you really look at the ones that ended up, you know being successful unquote in the eyes of society and the one’s that didn’t often times it’s the ones that were successful loved what they did so they could persevere you know when it got really tough and the ones that didn’t t love it, quit, because they’re sane. Dedication, hard work, dedication, hard work. I’m a one-man army, a one-man army. The world can go against me, I’ll still come out on top. I’ve got God on my side. Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not cried aloud. Under the bludgeoning’s of fate
My head is bloody, but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the shadow of the shade, And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.