With nearly 800,000 subscribers on TikTok and 93,000 on Instagram, 19-year-old Arthur Baucheron from Bordeaux is a social media star. Suffering from type 2 spinal muscular atrophy, he has been in a wheelchair since the age of two. During the confinement of 2020, he began to tell his daily life by playing it down on the networks and to go further, he released, on April 28, a book entitled "The wheels on earth and the head in the stars", at the editions First.
How did you get the idea to write a book?
Olivia Karam, freelance editor, offered me to do this book one day by contacting me on Instagram. She told me that she felt there was potential and that my story would be of interest to a publishing house. I told myself that this could broaden my audience by allowing me to address a slightly different age group since Tik Tok is more frequented by children, pre-teens and teenagers. A little over a year ago, Olivia Karam met my parents, my brother and I told her about my whole life.
How do you react to these 800,000 subscribers on your Tik Tok account?
It's amazing, I can't believe when I see these numbers. It's really when I meet people in the street or when I receive their testimonies by text, that I realize that they are real people with stories and who find themselves in a certain way through my experiences. Among them, there are many parents of children with disabilities who follow me. They are interested in what my parents adapted for me on a daily basis, and how I live. And, the autonomy that I have, reassures them in a certain way.
In the book, you pay tribute to your parents. We imagine that was important to you?
Yes of course. This book is dedicated to all the people who help me all the time and first of all to my parents who devoted their lives to adapting my environment. For example, they decided to take an apartment in the city center to make my life easier. I had my high school next door and now my school of communication is also very close. When the tram is crowded, I have to let two or three pass.
By reading you, we understand that your travels can quickly turn into a headache in your daily life.
Yes and frankly in Bordeaux things are going pretty well because everything is accessible: trams, buses and even boats on the Garonne (Batcub). Everything has been done to make it accessible for wheelchairs. In Paris, it's more complicated: the metros are not accessible and in the buses, one out of two ramps is down.
Do you often get stopped in the street in Bordeaux?
Yes frankly, and even in Paris. Afterwards, it's true that you can see me from afar, I can't go incognito. Me, it always makes me happy to meet people and it makes me happy to see that a person in a wheelchair is also of interest to young people. I'm lucky because even on the networks, I mainly get feedback from kind people.
You mention your desire to do TV in your book, will this be your next challenge?
I hate routine and so why not innovate? There is a very minimal representation of people with disabilities in series, films and on TV in general. Me, I would see myself doing things out of the ordinary. And I take advantage of my book to launch a small call to participate for example in a program which would be a mixture of Koh-Lanta, (which will never be possible for me) and Rendez-vous in unknown territory.