Nothing can stop you; one woman proves that as she steals the runway at North Carolina fashion showcase.
The woman we’re referring to is none other than McKayla Cheef, who was recently crowned Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina. When the Zaftan™ creative director and designer, Zankhna Parekh, first met McKayla, she was instantly blown away by her perseverance and unstoppable mindset. To this day, McKayla’s story still gives Zankhna goosebumps.
Zankhna has always been a woman’s woman and continues to show that by using real life role “models” in her runway shows. Zankhna’s latest collection, Zaftan™, is designed for trailblazing, strong, high achieving women who are putting cracks in the glass ceiling, just as Zankhna is doing with her fashion brand.
Zaftan™ is a line inspired by the traditional kaftan but designed and styled for the modern woman and all generations. Since Zaftan™ is suited for all generations, body types, and styles, the label prides itself on utilizing like-minded, powerful women in their fashion shows. Zankhna knew that McKayla’s story would inspire thousands just as it inspired her which is why Zankhna choose McKayla Cheef to open the 2019-2020 Fall/Winter Zaftan™ Fashion Show.
McKayla was born and raised in a small town in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She spent her summers soaking up the sun rays and enjoying the sweet serenity that can only be found on the North Carolina coast – but in 2014, McKayla’s senior year of high school, that all changed. McKayla’s life went from beach days with friends to a lifetime in a wheelchair after a terrible car accident. McKayla was a passenger in a car that collided with a piece of farm equipment, causing her to suffer a torn aorta, which only 7% of people survive. On top of that, McKayla suffered a stroke to the spine, leaving her paralyzed with many other internal injuries.
Almost six years later, McKayla has proved that she is a true survivor (cue Destiny’s Child). Despite her five-month hospital stay, McKayla continued high school, graduated on time, and attended college with the rest of her peers. McKayla now works at the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center back in the Outer Banks.
Both Zankhna Parekh and McKayla Cheef have faced their fair share of ups and downs but always come out on top. Both women are passionate about supporting other women, encouraging young women to push the boundaries, and inspire people around the world to live their best, fullest lives.
McKayla continues to be an advocate for those with disabilities. When asked how the accident affected her, McKayla says she does not let her injury define her or the way she will live. McKayla continues to do everything she did prior to the accident, just differently. Her goal is to inspire everyone to live their lives to the absolute fullest, do what you can to make your life the best possible, and better the world we live in. Zankhna parallels McKayla’s beliefs and both women are pushing the mark to make the world a better place for all women, men, and future generations.