Photo Descriptions from left to right: Photo 1 - a woman of color in a powered wheelchair performing on stage with two male actors, one dresses as Aladdin and the other as a guard. Photo 2 - a woman of color in a powered wheelchair in a formal black gown, with black hair, on a red carpet in front of a floor to ceiling banner that reads 'The Sessions' and 'LACMA'. Photo 3 - a woman of color in a powered wheelchair with long dark hair, dresses in a black skirt and striped skirt, on stage speaking to people, with a screen with projected images of 'Aladdin' and the woman singing on stage.
Jennifer Kumiyama was born with Arthrogryposis and uses a wheelchair daily. Kumiyama received voice lessons at Long Beach City College and California State University of Long Beach. In 2000, Jennifer earned a spot on Warner Bros. reality TV show “Popstars 2” and earned national accolades from many publications including Variety Magazine and TV Guide – referring to her as “the girl in the wheelchair, who’s voice blew everyone out of the water”. Shortly after that in 2002 – Jennifer was cast in Disney’s “Aladdin; a Musical Spectacular” at Disney California Adventure Theme Park, where she is the first performer in a wheelchair to ever be on any Disney stage in the world. She performed 4 times a day for 8,000 guests a day, who visit from every corner of the world. It was at Disney that Jennifer took on her real role as an advocate for people living with disabilities – showing the entire world that talent sees no boundaries. This motivated her to become a speaker – sharing her story with schools, social groups, and major businesses. Her new passion, in addition to singing – is being a voice for people living with disabilities by breaking attitudinal and architectural barriers. "Aladdin; a Musical Spectacular" closed on January 10, 2016.
In 2010, Jennifer was crowned Ms. Wheelchair California and Ms. Wheelchair America 2011, 1st Runner Up. During her reign she spread the message of hope through her platform “Empowering Children with Disabilities to Make Their Own Dreams Come True”.
Jennifer was cast in a major role as ‘Carmen’ in Sundance Film Festival hit and Academy Award Nominated film “The Sessions”, MTV’s teen sensation “Awkward” and became the founder and owner of The Ms. Wheelchair California Foundation in 2011 and has since retired as the State Coordinator in 2016.