By Hannah Stevens @Hannahshewans

A QUADRUPLE amputee is embracing her difference through the power of spoken word

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Videographer / director: Brad Podowski
Producer: Danny Baggott, Ruby Coote
Editor: Ross Dower

Hannah Olateju, 18, from London, had all four of her limbs amputated after contracting meningitis, which resulted in gangrene, at just two and a half years old.

After hiding behind dark clothes for years, Hannah’s confidence began to transform after a trip to Jamaica helped her to embrace her body.

Now she shares her journey with 50,000 followers on Instagram and is using spoken word to share her personal journey with body confidence.

She told Barcroft TV: “I would say to people who do have a negative view of amputees and disabled people - get a life.

“Body positivity is being confident with your body regardless of who tries to shame you, or whatever tries to put you down because, at the end of the day, we’re all going to die one day!

“We might as well enjoy our time now, we should just do what we want to do and forget the rest.”

Following a year long hospital stay, Hannah had to get used to life with prosthetics and the rest of the family were there for every step.

Hannah’s brother Byron said: “When Hannah was diagnosed with meningitis it was a very challenging time for us as a family. I remember the whole journey from her spending a year in hospital, to her coming out bandaged, to her starting to walk, going to college, going to university.

“So, my memories are always, actually, quite positive ones because it just amazes me to see the things that she overcomes.”

While at school, several bullies tried to tear Hannah down but she refused to even let them try.

She said: “People tried to bully me, but they were not successful. My mum taught me better than that. I would just simply kill them with kindness.

“When I get negative comments I just delete them because I know who I am, so I don’t need someone to tell me something when they don’t even know me.”

Although Hannah never lets bullies encroach on her life, it took a few more years before she felt completely at ease with herself.

Hannah said: “My confidence was at the point where I wouldn’t post selfies, I wouldn’t post anything about myself. I would just wear black and not really dress well.

“Now, I don’t like wearing black, unless it’s leather!. I’ve come a long way but there’s still a long way to go, as with anything.

“A turning point for me and my confidence was one summer when I went to Jamaica, over there everyone is so confident and happy regardless of their body size and what they look like.

“I felt like I took a lot of that with me and brought it back here so when I came back that’s when I started posting my hair, posting makeup.”

Now that she has amassed thousands of Instagram followers, Hannah intends to try her hand at make up tutorials on YouTube.

She said: “I decided I wanted to post makeup tutorials on to YouTube. I feel like it would help other amputees, especially new amputees. And it would also inspire people to say that, ‘oh, my situation isn’t really bad when - not doubting myself or anything - she’s got no arms and she can do makeup.’

“And some people say I do makeup better than them. So, I feel like it would give them motivation to go for their dreams.”

Hannah says the hardest thing to master, however, was the art of contouring, which she has countered by using longer brushes to help her apply make up.

She added: “Fashion and makeup has helped me and my confidence in a way that I can express my self more and try and kind of figure out what I like.

“For example purple lipstick, I think that makes me feel like a boss, and the hair as well, it makes me feel like a unicorn.”

While Hannah has fully embraced her body, she does not feel any affinity to the word ‘disabled’.

She said: “I don’t like using the word disabled when I am talking about myself because I feel like with people, especially society, they have such a negative connotation onto it.

“As in disabled, ‘they don’t have a love life, they can’t do their own thing, don’t go out clubbing, they don’t go out drinking’.

“I do all of those things and more, so why should I label myself?”