By Josh Saunders
Scantily-clad diverse models are fighting back in an empowering photoshoot to get greater representation and show that disabilities shouldn’t hold people back.
The images taken by Louis Amore on behalf of charity Models of Diversity (MOD), who hope to highlight the lack of representation in fashion and the media.
According to a study by the Department of Work and Pensions, over 11.6 million – slightly over one in five people – in Great Britain report to have a disability.
MOD aim to encourage change within the beauty industries, by campaigning for better representation of the population, supporting models with disabilities and of different ethnicities, sizes, age, height and more.
The shoot features models with varying differences who are casting fear aside to pursue their dreams of becoming professional models.
They include, Fran who has cerebral palsy after being prematurely born and Carla who has scarring and the loss of her left hand from a fire that severely burned her at seven-years-old.
Dominique contends with sight and hearing problems that stem from Autism, learning difficulties and foetal alcohol syndrome.
Ellie battles has Incontinentia Pigmenti, a condition with a number of presentations, including: scaring, tooth loss,pain and mobility issues particularly with her limbs.
As well as Angelica is a survivor of bowel cancer with a colostomy bag and plus-size model, who made a stand against body shaming.
Angel Sinclair, founder of Models of Diversity, said: “I want to prove to everyone that just because models are disabled it shouldn’t preclude
them from being selected as models.
“Our awareness of discrimination towards race, age and sex is now se
cond nature; surely ability and disability should be added to those
“Disability matters to me because I am healthy, but not perfect, like us all.
“Our degree of imperfection is not necessarily linked to the amount people can see.
“The line between disability and so-called ‘normal’ is very fuzzy and mostly down to people’s perception.
“However, if the perceived image of disability was to change from ‘it’s not me’, to ‘it could be me’, then I think attitudes would affect change.
“We are after all, an ageing population, so the longer we live the greater the chance that some form of disability will possibly touch our lives.
“For all of these, you are born this way, through time, place, genetics and health, the die is cast.
“For disability it’s a slightly different matter, even if 7% of us as children have a reported disability, for the rest of us, the older we get the likelihood of a life altering condition dramatically increases.
“At any point in our lives, circumstances can change us from being ‘able-bodied’ to having a disability within a matter of seconds whether we like it or not.
“Only then will we truly realise how under-represented disability is in fashion and the media.”Photographer Louis Amore has been working with Models of Diversity since 2012, notably featuring Jack Eyers, who went onto walk in New York fashion week.
Louis said: “Working alongside MoD I’ve help cast and co-ordinate many fashion shows, both specifically for disabled models and as ‘mixed ability’ catwalk events.
“To me photography is a great medium to deal with some of the issues regarding self-esteem and disability, especially to those who have recently become disabled.”
Models of Diversity are looking to challenge common perception of disability in the hoping of changing attitudes and uniting people.
In 2016, four years on from the London Paralympic Games, 43% of the public claim not to know anyone with a disability and a further 67% felt ‘awkward’ around people with disabilities.
By increasing representation of people with disabilities in fashion, advertising and the media, Angel of MOD hopes it will alter society.
She said: “Disabled people don’t want to be ‘identified as special cases’, they just want to be represented and treated normally like everyone else, rather than ignored.
“For disabled models there seems to be a convenient ‘loop’ argument, when business wants to show disabled people in their marketing, the agencies appear not to have any on their books.
“On the other hand, the agencies don’t have models with disabilities on their books because apparently, they don’t get asked for models with disabilities, or they won’t put a disabled model on their books because they can’t model the same way that able models can.
“With very few designers’ designing specifically towards disability, and a scarcity of retailers being disability friendly, the odds are stacked against the models.”
“I also believe that current tough retail market, along with the recent demise of some of the larger high-street retailers, appears to make companies more concerned with minimising risk and appeasing shareholders than they do with regards to this inequality.
“If one major retailer embraced this potential others would hopefully follow.”
For more information visit: www.modelsofdiversity.org.
A difficult premature birth left Fran with cerebral palsy but undeterred she swam
competitively from 14 until an injury forced an end 7 years later. Now, seeking a meaningful pastime she models to inspire others with disabilities!
Burn scars and the loss of her left hand where there result of a fire in Carla’s cot at 7
months. But with time and becoming a mum of three her confidence has grown and now feels her experiences as a burn victim have even brought out the best in her!
Dominique has autism, leaning difficulties and foetal alcohol syndrome that’s led to sight and hearing problems. But Dominique also works hard, has tremendous tenacity and the most cheerful and kind nature. She is beautiful inside and out!
Incontinentia Pigmenti is a condition with a number of presentations: scaring, tooth loss, pain and mobility issues particularly limbs in Ellie’s case. School was tough but now, with support from friends and family is studying hair and make up. And now, modelling!
Angelica is a survivor of bowel cancer with a colostomy bag. A plus size model, she has also made a stand against body shaming and is a regular with Models of Diversity. Nothing stops Angelica!