Little Miss Turtle | A day that changed my life

A day that changed my life

Taking part in Andrea Krallinger’s project “Ganz schön krank – Pretty ill”


Today I’ll tell you about a very special photo project and how this project helped me to gain self-confidence by fully accepting me and my disabled body.


First of all I have to admit, that I’ve had a very bad image of myself. I have never seen myself neither as a “real” woman nor I thought of me being beautiful. My body was my weird-looking capsule, rolling around in a wheelchair. Often I even felt ashamed for my strange movements caused by my limb-girdle muscular dystrophy and for being in a wheelchair. So, I preferred to hide myself whenever possible to not attract more attention than usual. I had no self-confidence at all and didn’t feel good in my skin. There were times when I silently cried in my bed, asking myself why I was chosen to have this mean LGMD disease. But one day in 2012 would change everything… !


While I was reading a magazine of the German MD Association, my eyes stopped at a text saying “Participants for photo project wanted”. I don’t know why, but my inner voice told me to apply immediately. That’s how I got to know the German photographer Andrea Krallinger and her beautiful project “Ganz schön krank” (free trans. “pretty ill”). Andrea, having an invisible disability herself, took pictures of people with all kinds of disorders, focussing on their beauty – not on their faults. The photos of Andrea’s models were art printed and are still being exhibited all over Germany and even abroad. Each art print is accompanied by a personal introduction written by the model, describing briefly her/his life with a disability.


The day of the photo shoot

So, together with my brother I met Andrea in August 2012 on a wonderfully warm summer day. But actually, only one day before the appointment I wanted to cancel it! I was scared and I thought that I was not good enough for Andrea’s project. I felt very uncomfortable, I didn’t even have a clue how to dress. I was simply afraid to not fulfil expectations… Luckily my brother insisted on going! And so we did!


On our way to the meeting I was so nervous that I couldn’t eat a thing. We met Andrea in a train station in Passau. We had a great time together and got along very well – there really was no need to be that nervous! Together, we discovered a nice little park where the shooting took place. Thanks to Andrea’s guidance and her reassuring words I overcame my shyness and suddenly I felt comfortable in front of her camera. I had never done any photo shooting before, so this was a completely new experience for me. Some days later Andrea sent me a link to the pictures. I clicked on the link with my heart pounding. First, I couldn’t really believe that this young, beautiful woman was me. For the very first time I saw my bright smile and my sparkling eyes. And for the very first time I saw my hidden beauty revealed.



Thanks to Andrea’s project, I received lots of mails from interesting people telling me that I had a very positive appearance and a beautiful smile. Thanks to her I made many new friends. Thanks to Andrea I met my love Xavier only two months after the shooting! Thanks to her I had the chance to do a photo shooting for wheelchair manufacturer Sunrise Medical and work as a wheelchair model.


Thanks to Andrea and her “Ganz schön krank” project I learned to truly accept myself as I am! There was and is no reason to hide my smile any longer. Today, in 2016, I am a confident and joyful woman on wheels. Thank you so much for everything you did, Andrea!

– Little Miss Turtle in the German TZ news
– Little Miss Turtle is “Ganz schön krank”

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  • Lenoir Françoise 14/03/2016   Reply →

    Super ! Mélie, d’avoir rencontrer cette femme: un ange qui t’a permis de t’aimer .
    Mais , sais-tu que nous avons tous un pet de travers et que presque tous les humains , à un moment ou un autre, doivent apprendre à s’accepter tels qu’ils sont et que ce combat est le même pour tous…au-delà des apparences: notre corps n’est qu’une enveloppe ; les richesses sont à l’intérieur et se reflètent sur notre visage…
    Gros bisous
    @ bientôt,

  • Marta Quezada 25/07/2018   Reply →

    Dear ;Melanie
    I am so impressed to read your story. I met you in Iowa and since the very first minute I saw a beautiful woman. With a great smile with whom I knew I could make a friendship. Your blog is extraordinary! It is the first one that deals with the real problems of a disabled person.
    I have a few adventures myself that I will share with you as well. Tell me where to write to you.
    Please say hello to Xavier and you are welcome to travel to Mexico. It is not a very accesible place but my house is very accesible and I would love to have you as my guests. I live in Cuernavaca. One hour south Mexico City.
    Hope to hera from you soon
    Love Marta Quezada

    • Melanie 25/07/2018   Reply →

      Thank you so much, Marta! It was so nice to meet you in Iowa! I’ve just sent you an email and I can’t wait to read from you.
      Xavier also says HELLO to you and your family.

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