Mama Cax - Model, blogger, world traveler, public speaker, advocate, and amputee
I discovered Mama Cax through a podcast. She talked about all the amazing things she was doing despite her disability. Of course I had to stalk her Insta right after and was blown away by both her stunning feed, amazing style, and those drop dead gorgeous looks! She had grown quite a large following of over 135k people who just adore all she's doing in the fashion and female empowerment world. This gal survived cancer at a young age and lost one of her legs but she did not let that stop her from fulfilling her dreams. Mama Cax is a shining example of strength, elegance, and bold self expression. Through all this she has become a well known spokesperson for the intersectional feminist movement.
It was a long shot, but I figured I should reach out to see if she was interested in being featured on our Boss Blog. As luck would have it she was in LA speaking at Create & Cultivate, the ultimate girl boss conference! I was honored she took the time out of her busy schedule to stop by Biz Babez and shoot with me. We made the arrangements to shoot about a month in advance and I was anxiously awaiting for the day to arrive. I wanted to do something more special than our usual shoots at the office so that morning I ran to the fashion district and got some amazing vintage fabric for a backdrop. She arrived with a bag of awesome clothing and accessories, including this epic wig. She said, "I want to make this a fun and playful shoot!" I couldn't have agreed more! Mama Cax was such a cool and down to earth girl and we had an awesome time shooting and chatting. It's always the best when you meet a role model who is so nice and relatable.
Scroll around below to see the full shoot and read our interview! Mama Cax has some powerful words to share.
Mama Cax! First off why don’t you tell us a little about yourself. Where are you originally from and what's your full name?
I was born in Brooklyn but originally from Haiti. I spent most of my childhood in Haiti before moving back to New York in 2004. Mama Cax is my blogging name but most people call me Cax. I hold a B.A and M.A in International Studies but currently I'm a full time blogger and model.
You’re a lady of many talents and pursuits! How would you describe all you do?
It doesn’t quite fit in one box I guess. Aside from blogging and modeling, I often get to speak at events and conferences and the topic of discussion varies from intersectional feminism, body image and sex positivity. Ultimately I like to bring the perspective of a disabled woman to these platforms as we are often not present in those discussions.
I love hearing how you went from working in a government office to being a fashion icon and jet setting around the world. What prompted this change?What does fashion and self expression mean to you?
Totally unplanned. I always thought I’d end up working at a non profit organization. While I worked at the mayor’s office, outside of my 9-5 unbeknownst to me at the time, I was creating and nurturing a brand. From curating my Instagram feed to blogging about travels and body image, it all started paying off when I realized I could also get paid to create content for some of my favorite brands. I took a year off to get my masters, with the hope of getting a better paying position. Life doesn’t always workout the way we plan and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After getting the opportunity to model on a Wet n Wild campaign it made sense to get represented by a modeling agency. Although me being where I am is completely by chance I also can’t deny the work I’ve put into it. People tend to organically label me and those labels often come with negative assumption. Fashion is one of many ways I let the world know who I am; risk taker, confident and creative.
Where are some of the places you have traveled? Which place is your absolute favorite and why?
I’ve studied in Europe and embarked on a solo backpacking trip in south east Asia. I’ve probably been to 35 countries across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. I’ve created great memories in every single one. If I absolutely have to pick one I’d say Iceland in the spring; Dreamy landscape, the weather is perfect and I love the 22 hour daylight. If I could pick more than one, I would have to add Haiti (because it will always be home), Ivory Coast, South Africa and Thailand. These countries have great food and vibrant cultures from the clothing to the music.
How would you say having survived cancer and an amputation at age 16 has shaped you as a person?
I think surviving cancer has pushed me to aim to enjoy the little victories in life and try to live it to the fullest. I always say that if I had a do-over there’s very little that I would change. These experiences have made me the person I am today, they have definitely made me appreciate my ability to adapt.
You have become a huge advocate in the body positivity movement. Why is this movement vital not only to you but all women?
I was unaware of the movement until I joined Instagram. For the longest time it had been a movement to get plus size women (mostly white) to accept their bodies but I’ve slowly watched it include other women (thankfully). I often use the term self-love, but to me it is meant to celebrate and elevate bodies that have been marginalized for so long; plus size, hairy, queer, trans, diverse skin shade and disabled. I think self perception has a strong link with self esteem therefore it affects so many aspects of our lives.
You have not let your disability get in the way of a very able, full, and colorful life. What does the word “disability” mean to you? After posting on our Insta-stories we had a few girls reach out who also wear prosthetics and are struggling to embrace and show them off the way you do. What’s one important message you have for these girls?
Disability is essentially an impairment, often times it affects us because our environment is not designed with us in mind. Having a disability has allowed me to find a new community and look at our world through a different lens, one that constantly pushes me to think of ways of making opportunities and spaces accessible. As an amputee, there isn’t one way of embracing yourself, for me it meant showing off my prosthetic leg but I understand that our society is not very accepting. To other girls who wear prosthetics I say do what makes you feel comfortable and work on loving yourself at your own pace.
As a blogger you’ve had a large following on Instagram for some time now, and are now signed with an agency as a model. You travel the world speaking at conferences like Create & Cultivate. What has all this attention and fame been like for you?! The good and bad.
Yes I’m currently represented by JAG Models. I’m always amazed by the messages from all over the world, especially from people whose stories are similar to mine. And always honored to get invited to speak at conferences and events, rubbing elbows with women who have inspired and continue to inspire me. From the likes and comments it’s easy to see the positive but it can be frightening and lonely. Once you’re considered a public figure, your picture can be shared on any platform where the comment sections are not always positive. Often times people equate popularity with “doing well” or “she’s made it” but my life is still very much like a roller coaster; I have great days, depressing ones, worries about not budgeting well and an almost non existent dating life.
What’s in store for the future of Mama Caxx?! Tell us all your wildest dreams :)
I’lll be on yet another exciting panel at South by South West (so follow me on Instagram for a chance to see me talk). I shot an amazing campaign for Tommy Hilfiger and that will be out in the Spring. Since I never imagined I’d be a full time blogger, model and speaker, It’s hard to allow myself to dream but some things on my list are:
- to help provide prosthetic limbs to children
- be featured in Vogue print magazine(I like the tangible stuff)
- and finally setting up a fund to provide scholarships for students with disabilities to study abroad
What does being a Dazey Lady mean to you?
Being confident, pursuing my dream, helping my community but most importantly encourage other young women to do the same.