When I did my first fashion show I was only 8 years old. I loved it so much that I always knew what I wanted to be in life. I can’t record that I wanted to be anything other than a model. Even a tennis player that I already was at that time, I didn’t want to be. This was something that ‘accidentally’ happened later on. I would say I like to play tennis as I would like to play handball and I was good at both of them. Coming back to my dream, to be a model was what I wanted to be.
What to say to a 14-year-old when she became disabled that the thing she was doing wouldn’t be possible anymore? That she wouldn’t do this, that she couldn’t do that. Yes, I was sadder I couldn’t walk on the catwalk anymore than to walk on its own. I would mind being disabled if I could walk in the catwalk and to come back to my wheelchair afterward.
The fact was, no one was doing, we didn’t have it, It would be a dream, even a dream, it wasn’t a possibility. How could you be a model 30 years ago if you were disabled? Are you crazy? …
Two months after my accident while I was still in the recovery process I got a call from an agency in Sao Paulo in Brazil asking me to model for them in Italy. The fact was I couldn’t even fight at that moment as disabled people didn’t have any representation in the fashion industry. I and never seen a disabled model on the catwalk or in magazines. Even today who is the model you have in mind when we talk about disabled models, maybe those with a minor disability, the ones the industry accept, but really who do we have as a role model? We are not even there yet to have a name that will be in your mind, maybe a few, but the name that the world know at the top of the tongue as Gisele, Naomi… many years of beautiful work that these girls are doing? It was taken from me, and I was not allowed to model again ( at that time).
I would like my legacy to make the world more inclusive, to have a new generation of models and influencers, and to give visibility to disabled people. I don’t want another me at 14 years old frustrated because she (or he) couldn’t be what she (or he) wants to be.
The option should be there. We should rediscover ourselves, make us feel beautiful, to feel relevant.
I am asking you to be open to the new concepts of beauty. We are here, we exist, we can’t be ignored. Also, the world is craving for more reality, for more acceptance and greater representation.
Sorry to tell you the Pandora’s box has been opened. We won’t come back and we won’t be quiet. From here on we only can move forward.
Are you coming together?