By Nelson Groom
An Australian model with a disability has bravely redefined beauty standards after storming the runway in a wheelchair.
Lisa Cox, 38, made the milestone in her hometown of Brisbane last month in a glamourous appearance at the Meraki Fashion Show.
The author’s world turned upside down the day she suffered a stroke at 24 that left her partially blind, needing a leg amputation and years of surgery.
But Lisa refused to give up hope, rebuilding her identity and becoming an international inspiration for people with disabilities.
After modelling in photoshoots, the runway appearance serves as Lisa’s latest step in her quest to break down barriers limiting disabled people.
Lisa said: “’I definitely don’t fit the stereotype of a catwalk model but that’s the very reason I did this.”
“I’m not a model by trade but I really enjoy it so when I was contacted by the designer I didn’t hesitate.”
“The crew were very supportive, I wasn’t treated any differently from anyone else. It shouldn’t be a big deal that I’m here on a wheelchair, but at the moment it is.”
“The social media feeds of some of Australia’s biggest brands only shows images of seemingly perfect women.”
“I want people to know that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and abilities.”
In 2005, Lisa was rising through the ranks of the media world and seemed to be the picture of health when she was suddenly struck down by a stroke.
This proved to be only the beginning of her nightmare when she fell into a three-week coma, spent two months in intensive care and years in and out of hospital.
The aftermath left her wheelchair-bound, 25 per cent blind, and with her leg and nine of her fingertips amputated.
While the road to recovery was long and hard, Lisa would come to reimagine her identity as a young woman living with disability.
Now, she hopes her modelling and writing on body positivity can serve as a beacon of hope for others to follow in her footsteps.
Lisa said: “This is something I was always passionate about, even growing up.”
“By being seen on a runway, I’m challenging the stereotypes that we’re incompetent because of our disabilities.”
“I’m very grateful for the body I have and what it can do, even though it’s limited by what it can do by my disabilities”
“I want other women to love and appreciate their body for what it can do and not just what it looks like in a bikini.”