Taking a matter-of-fact attitude towards their disabilities, “Push Girls” offers a candid view of the women as they pursue their own claims to happiness as they enter different stages of their lives. The show follows four dynamic, outspoken and beautiful women who, by accident or illness, have been paralyzed from the neck or the waist down. In the 14 part series, one of the girls featured is part Thai actress/ model Angela Rockwood Nguyen. The 36 year old was born in Clovis, New Mexico, and grew up all over the world as the child of a career military man. She started modeling at age 17 and later became a fitness instructor and a skilled martial artist. At 22, she relocated to Los Angeles, where she met actor Dustin Nguyen (21 Jump Street) and he introduced her to her second love, drama. She launched an acting career, with small roles in THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS and the syndicated television series V.I.P. She and Dustin secretly eloped on Valentine’s Day, 2001 and separated in 2011.
Angela became paralyzed in an automobile accident on September 3, 2001. She and two girlfriends were driving home from a trip to San Francisco when her friend lost control of the car. Angela was in the backseat and was thrown through a window, suffering a broken neck and severed spinal cord. She is a quadriplegic, and at the time of her accident doctors gave her a 3% chance of ever feeling or moving anything below her neck. A firm believer in alternative healing methods, Angela didn’t accept this diagnosis. Two months after the crash, while she couldn’t feel her fingers, she was able to wiggle her left index finger; a month later she touched the top of her head. In 2003, she underwent pioneering stem cell treatments in Portugal, which allowed her to operate a manual wheelchair. Though Angela can’t move her fingers fully, she can feed herself, paint and apply her own makeup.
Angela is active with a number of organizations for the disabled. She is an Ambassador for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, and worked closely on the organization’s minority outreach campaigns in Asian-American communities. She is a quadriplegic counselor through the website of the Fight 2 Walk Foundation, a nonprofit crisis intervention group for recently paralyzed individuals. She was a life coach for Operation Confidence, a nonprofit organization for people with physical disabilities; she threw events and fundraisers and made public speaking appearances for the organization, though she has not been actively involved in recent years.
She is a spokesmodel for Quickie Wheelchairs and Ti-Lite Wheelchairs. She works as a model and an actress and hosts weekly acting workshops in Los Angeles.
Push Girls Promo
More about Angela Rockwood Nguyen’s accident:
Turmoil struck on September 4, when I was en route from San Francisco to L.A. with two of my close girlfriends, my 5’9 frame wedged in the back seat of a two-door coupe. When the accident happened, I remembered the car fishtailing violently, before it swung around by the force of the impact, and hit the side of the mountain. I was thrown in the back of the drivers seat, and my neck snapped instantly. The car flipped five times and I was thrown out of the window landing 20 feet away. Of the two friends who were with me, one did not survive.
The moment I opened my eyes in the hospital after my surgery. I felt I was living in a surreal, parallel reality. I had now been transported into the realm of the paralyzed: a C4-5 quadriplegic. The doctors told me I had 3% chance of moving or feeling anything from the neck down. Which I NEVER believed, and never once did I feel I was cursed, or at the receiving end of bad karma. I even had a premonition at 17 that I’d be in a horrible car accident. I’d forgotten about this, and was reminded of it 18 months or so later after the accident, by a friend I had told in the past. The vision was clear, I immediately sensed that I had a mission to fulfill, and that the hope and willpower I felt would guide me to become an advocate for individuals.