I met James last summer when I first approached Mawaheb for Beautiful People about sharing their stories for a potential project to educate, advocate, and mainstream beauty in difference.
Fast forward 6 months later, and I have the pleasure of sitting with James and learning more about his world. James tells me he is the spokesperson for Mawaheb, and sitting with him for only a few minutes I can see why. He is articulate and his honesty is so transparent it can't help but touch your heart.
He is a talented young man, and is an incredibly likeable person. I think we can all learn from one another on this earth, and this interview is no exception.
Pay close attention to his words. They are simple, yet very profound.
When James told me that he has Kabuki Syndrome, I must admit that I didn't know anything about it, but I have found this link (http://sakks.org/information/what-is-kabuki-syndrome) which helps to describe some of the characteristics. As always though I feel that it is most important to focus on the individuals and their particular journey. Thanks for being such a great advocate for extraordinary people James!
It seems only fitting to share this story only 2 days short of Art in Secret, an exhibition happening on the 18th of January in support of Mawaheb and the opportunities they create for extraordinary people like James. If you are interested to attend this unique event, please go to their page for more info.
1) Tell me about yourself James.
I'm 28 years old and I've been in Dubai for 11 years. I came to Dubai when I was 17 years old from England, and have a brother who is 2 years older than me.
I love acting, singing, dancing, and painting. The number one thing I like to do is hang out with my friends. If I didn't have them I wouldn't be who I am today.
2) Last time we met I remember you said you liked to write, what do you love to write about most?
I love to write songs, and fan fiction (short stories). Anything that comes from my imagination really. I just write it down.
3) What is your favourite song that you've written?
My newest song is called "Be Original" and tells people to stop following the crowd, and stop trying to be like other people. If you follow other people, you won't have your own identity.
4) Can you give us a line from your song?
"Be Original. Be who you are. You're not cool following this guy, that girl, this guy."
5) What are your biggest challenges in life?
To make other teenagers/young adults see who I am. A couple of months ago I went to an audition for this company called Celebrity Experience. It was very professional. We had to audition in front of a celebrity. A few hours later my mom got a call to say I got a callback. This summer I am going to Hollywood, CA to be trained how to act. I just want to get through this so people can realise that it doesn't matter if you have special needs because you can do it all if you put your mind to it.
I have Kabuki syndrome. It challenges me because people look at me and don't see James, they just see my special needs.
6) What is your biggest gift?
My personality of being original. I've not changed at all. I'm just happy and can get on with anybody.
7) What do you want to share with the world?
I just want to say something to parents of children with special needs and teenagers. It doesn't matter what you are on the outside, what matters is what's inside your heart.
Thank you James. Truly awakening, and truly heart opening. James is a very talented artist in many ways, you can view his work or go and speak to him down at Mawaheb!