The Epilepsy Foundation has announced the addition of Camila Coelho, Brazilian-American fashion and beauty entrepreneur, as an END EPILEPSY Ambassador on 10 February, International Epilepsy Day. Camila will serve as an advocate for people living with epilepsy by leveraging her platform to create awareness and educate others about epilepsy and seizures. According to the World Health Organization, epilepsy is the most common serious brain disorder worldwide and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimates that 3.4 million people in the United States are affected by the disease. Camila is one of 710 000 Latinos in the United States living with epilepsy and she shared her story with the world for the first time on International Epilepsy Day. “I experienced my first seizure at the age of 9 years and always felt different growing up. I rejected myself and my diagnosis which led to me stopping my anti-seizure medication when I was 17 years old, without telling anyone. Not taking my medication caused me to have a seizure in school and soon after, I realised taking medication to keep me safe, is nothing compared to what other people go through,” she says. Camilla says every time she has a seizure, she would wake up in the hospital extremely emotional. She says when a seizure happens, she doesn’t know that it's occurring or remember it after which makes it harder for her husband, family and friends, however she has learned to cope with it by working with her medical team to manage the condition. “I'm excited to support the Epilepsy Foundation in its fight to end Epilepsy. My hope is that others hear my story and know that Epilepsy doesn't have to keep you from pursuing your dreams or leading an enjoyable life. That is why I am using my platform to educate the public about epilepsy and seizures and inspire others to seek help,” says Camilla. As a first-generation immigrant who arrived to the USA when she was 14 years old, Camila started her career at a Dior makeup counter within her local Macy's where her love of beauty came into fruition. As a way to stay in touch with her friends and family back in Brazil, Camila took to YouTube, uploading her favourite beauty looks and creating step-by-step tutorials. What began as a hobby quickly propelled Camila into one of the world's top digital personalities, with a massive global reach of over 15 million followers across her social platforms. Her namesake fashion label, Camila Coelho Collection, sold out online within minutes of launch and continues to grow month over month and Camila now spends her time traveling the world.
Camilla has stunned on some of the world's biggest red carpets including the highly coveted MET Gala with Diane von Furstenberg and the Cannes Film Festival. She has graced covers around the globe including international editions of InStyle, Glamour, Women's Health, L'Officiel, Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar and more. Globally, an estimated five million people are diagnosed with epilepsy each year. Robert Smith, interim chief executive officer of the Epilepsy Foundation, says they are excited that Camila has teamed up with them to help raise awareness about Epilepsy, particularly among minority communities where epilepsy is even less widely discussed. “I am both impressed and inspired by her commitment to our cause and her willingness to share her story with the world. Thanks to her efforts, we'll be able to educate even more people about epilepsy and seizures and inspire others to be a part of the fight to end Epilepsy,” he says. Bradley Boyer, chair of the Epilepsy Foundation board of directors, says they are hopeful that Camila's status as a global fashion and beauty mogul will help others share their stories. He says they are committed to end Epilepsy and give hope to those who live with seizures and fight this battle every day.