Jewel Kats is a lot of things, disabled is just one of them. It’s what she does with her disability that is so inspiring. She takes it and turns it into a source of inspiration for others. Her web comics series, DitzAbled Princess, has steadily closed in on 200,000 hits since it launched in early 2013. In the strip, co-created with Katarina Andriopoulos, Jewel in comic character form, shares her observations about her life with readers, many of whom are disabled. Her audience, disabled or not, enjoys her quirky take on life’s many trials and tribulations and the comic team have amassed enough strips for a collection, DitzAbled Princess: A Comical Diary, published by by Marvelous Spirit Press.
In the strip Kats shares her life with complete strangers and provides inspiration and a positive role model for those, particularly women, with disabilities. She is not immune from taking jabs at herself either, such as enjoying the perks that come with her disability (getting out of housework and flirting with her paratransit drivers). That’s the lighter side, of course, there are many times when Kats has been made to feel like less than a person by ignorant, if well-meaning, strangers.
Kats is a self-described former teen runaway who has in fact come a long way as an advocate for the disabled, especially teens, who may feel a lot of anger and resentment towards their disability. She wrote a syndicated advice column for disabled teens that enjoyed a six year run in Canada. She also authored seven books before her interests turned to comics. Whatever her current passions and creative pursuits are now, whatever they maybe in the future, Kats will continue to thrive and inspire those to overcome their disabilities, and like her, turn negatives into positives.