At the Loews Hollywood Hotel on Monday, Oksana Kononets’ Hollywood dream is coming true.
The 29-year-old model is participating in Tuesday’s Runway of Dreams fashion show, though to get to this point, she had to endure an arduous five-day journey out of Ukraine.
“I’m in L.A. now, but all the time, my heart is in Kyiv,” she said.
Kononets, who uses a wheelchair, could not walk to Poland like other refugees, so she spent 11 hours on a crowded train, slept on floors and moved underground when bombs exploded.
“We hear shells, we hear a bomb not so far from my home … we hear one at the airport,” she said.
But now Oksana is working with Runway of Dreams, which features clothing for people with disabilities.
Mindy Scheier, founder of Runway of Dreams, said she’s proud Kononets risked her life to be part of the show.
“People with disabilities are people first, and Oksana is a beautiful example of that, that it was that important for her to be here that she risked her life,” Scheier said.
Kononets said she wants to represent people with disabilities and the Ukrainian people.
“We are power, inside of us, we have the power,” she said.