In Conversation With Cassidy Huff: From Author to Advocate, Empowering Disabled Voices

In Conversation With Cassidy Huff: From Author to Advocate, Empowering Disabled Voices

Introduction: Cassidy is a 21 year old white woman with straight blonde hair and green eyes. She stands at 4’3” tall and is wearing a white off the shoulder shirt. 


Chamiah: Hi Cassidy! Firstly, please introduce yourself to our audience in whatever way feels more authentic to you :)

Cassidy: Hi! My name is Cassidy Huff and I am an actress, model, performer, best-selling author, writer, disability advocate and social media influencer. I am passionate about disability representation both onstage and onscreen and I love to educate others on what it’s like to live with a disability!

I see that you Co-authored the bestselling book ‘becoming an exceptional leader’, first of all congratulations! I’d love to know how this experience was for you, and what has the feedback been like since?

Thank you so much! I co-authored Becoming An Exceptional Leader when I was 17 years old and it was released when I was 18 years old. I have always loved to write, so I was thrilled when my friend Mai Ling Chan asked me to co-author a book with her and some others! Becoming a best-selling author at the age of 18 was a little overwhelming, but I’m so proud of this accomplishment and I hope that I am able to write and/or co-author another book in the future!


How have you found the response to your advocacy for disabled people? Is it generally understood and well-recieved?

I love sharing my life online, and I also love advocating for my community every day! The response to my social media changes every day. Most days, it’s very positive! But there are some days where my comment sections are very negative and looking at them isn’t good for my mental health. Since social media is my full time job, I really struggle with the whole work-life balance concept. It is very easy for me to constantly be on my phone, checking my posts and comments. But when there are hundreds, sometimes even thousands of comments flooding my notifications on every platform, it is essential for me to take time away from my screens. 


I’ve seen that you openly discuss your rare genetic type of dwarfism, called Conradi-Hünermann syndrome. Sometimes we find that people with rare conditions feel even less understood; what would you like our audience to understand about your type of Dwarfism?

I would like people to know that not everyone with dwarfism looks the same. Often when I tell others that I have dwarfism, some will say that I don’t “look like” I do. I want people to know that there are over 400 types of dwarfism and there isn’t a certain way that our bodies “need” to look in order to have our conditions. Just like people without dwarfism, we all come in different shapes and sizes too!


Like many others, you don’t just have one condition, but a few. How do you think this has shaped you as a person? I imagine you’ve had to build a robust resilience and bravery from a young age? Does this make you feel more optimistic about life in general?

I think that having multiple disabilities as well as having 43 surgeries has really impacted my life. I think that surviving all of that has shown me that I am able to survive pretty much anything! I also believe that having multiple disabilities helps me be a better advocate and it makes me more aware of how to make my content more accessible. As far as being more optimistic, there is a lot that I don’t share on social media. I have anxiety, PTSD, and depression. Simultaneously, I am very optimistic. I think that’s just in my nature and who I am as a person. However, because of how much medical intervention I’ve had and how much life experience I gained at a very young age, I do need things to help me cope. So I do take antidepressants and I go to trauma therapy once a week. 

What have you learnt about yourself through your role as changemaker, creative and author?

I have learned that I can handle constant change. I have also learned how creative I truly am. I think I can credit my college education for teaching me that about myself. Because of school, I got into the great habit of creating something every day. It doesn’t matter what it is, I just have to create something at least once a day. And lastly, I have learned that my creative process is always changing and evolving!

 

Cassidy smiling to the camera, wearing a blue off-shoulder top and jeans

Going into the fashion segment (my favourite), how would you describe your personal style?

I would describe my personal style as a work in progress! When I was younger, I hated fashion and wanted nothing to do with it, because it seemed like it wanted nothing to do with me. Every time I would try a new article of clothing on, it was almost always unflattering. Things rarely fit me and often hung off of my body and made me look awkward and lanky. At a young age I just accepted the fact that fashion was just simply not my thing, and clothes were not made with my body type in mind. In my teen years especially, I wore big, baggy sweatshirts because it was easier to hide behind clothes that didn’t fit instead of trying to fight the losing battle of forcing them to. It wasn’t until I started going to college and moved to LA on my own that I really started to begin exploring fashion! All of that to say, right now I would describe my personal style as trendy. I love wearing tight fitting crop tops and looser fitting pants. I don’t have very much freedom in the shoe department because of my orthotic foot-on-foot prosthesis. So I mainly wear tennis shoes and I usually pair them with a streetwear-like outfit!


Who are your style icons and inspirations?

Ariana Grande, Billie Elish, and Taylor Swift!


Cassidy’s style inspirations: Ariana Grande, Billie Eillish, Taylor Swift.

While petite ranges exist everywhere now, we know that they tend to be for those 5ft-5’4”, have you found any brands or garments you can’t live without? If so, can you recommend some places that short stature people can shop (other than ourselves😏)…

I unfortunately don’t have any brands or garments that I’ve found that are a “must” for me. However, one hack that I’ve discovered is going into places like Abercrombie or Urban Outfitters and looking for “average sized” crop tops. Since I have long arms and a very short torso, average sized crop tops are actually just regular shirts on me and they usually fit my torso correctly! 


What future trends do you see in the world of short stature clothing?

I see the world of short stature clothing becoming normalized. I really hope to see the day where short statured people don’t have to fight for our clothes to fit us. The reality is, we all wear clothes, so I hope to see the clothing industry become more accepting and clothes for short statured people become more accessible!


What advice would you give to other petite individuals who struggle to find clothing that fits their proportions well?

I would tell them that I know it’s really difficult and alterations can be super expensive, so there’s nothing wrong with getting creative! You can always tuck garments into your other clothes, fold them over themselves, or cut them so they fit you correctly! The one thing I’ve learned is that if it makes you feel confident, you should wear it! Who cares what others think?!


What challenges do you commonly encounter when shopping for clothing, and how does CDF address those challenges / what could we do better?

I really struggle with finding pants and dresses that fit me correctly. I have long legs but wide hips and a small waist, so pants like to either not fit over my hips, slide off of me, or are too short and don’t reach my ankles. With dresses, my shoulders are broad, but my arms are long and my torso is very short. So trying to find a dress that fits my upper body and then also hits the correct length at the bottom is very difficult. I think that CDF has the potential to help with these issues in the future! I would love to see a little more diversity in the different types of dwarfism you are including in your measurements and modeling!


There are so little amount of high-profile role models in this space, especially with CHS, first all, do you know any?! And what message do you hope to send to other shorter stature people through your platform?

I unfortunately don’t know any high-profile role models with CHS! My condition is so rare that I believe I know everyone who has been formally diagnosed with it, and so far, none of us have really broken into this industry yet! But I hope to be the first! I hope to show others that are shorter stature that it is possible to be small, fashionable, successful, and accomplish everything you wish to! 

What should fashion brands be considering more in today's social climate?

Fashion brands should be considering the fact that everyone’s body types are different. Therefore, their clothes and advertising should reflect that. In my opinion, the more diversity that is included in all industries, the better! 

Cassidy smiling, wearing a beige, sparkly suit with a black top.


And lastly, what would you like to see next in the fashion industry?

I want to see more people who look like me on red carpets wearing designer clothes, on runways modeling, on billboards, in magazines, and everywhere else! We deserve to be represented!

 

Cassidy’s journey is a testament to the power of resilience, creativity, and advocacy. Her accomplishments as an author, actress, and disability advocate highlight the importance of representation and inclusivity in all spheres, especially fashion. I‘m inspired by her dedication to creating a world where everyone, regardless of stature or ability, can feel confident and stylish. Cassidy’s story reminds us of the impact we can make by embracing diversity and striving for a more inclusive future.

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