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Nicole Marquez

Dancing and acting was and is my life plan. Following acting apprenticeships in The Berkshires and Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, I packed my bags in January 2008 and moved to New York to pursue my dreams of being a “triple threat” on Broadway. And I almost did.

At 25, on the night of my best audition, I went home to find that I was locked out of my 5th floor apartment. I went to the roof to see if there was a way in through my window. Looking over the edge is my last memory. I fell six stories, but how I fell still remains a mystery. The extent of my injuries were so severe when I was found eight hours later (a broken back, neck, pelvis, ribs, punctured lung) that I was rendered a quadriplegic, destined to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

Instead, I worked hard, pushing the limits of my body, just as I had done as a dancer. I am now able to walk and dance without assistance as an ambulatory incomplete quadriplegic. Prior to my accident, performing was all I knew. Now I faced the challenge of “Well, now what?” I had to accept that my life was different, but my dreams didn’t have to be. In the meantime, I had to live my life and find a new career using the knowledge and skills I already possessed.

Today, I am discovering success as a motivational speaker, and proudly serve on the board of BIALA. My book, "Falling Isn't Failure," was released in August 2016. I am now in the business of hope and sharing it. Without hope, I would never be where I am today.

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