Watch out Hollywood, from saturday the 8th of December 2012 untill Thursday the 13th of December Disabled Models Debbie van der Putten (Amsterdam and London) and Shaholly Ayers (Hawaii) will visit Los Angeles to promote disability in fashion and media.
Debbie (27), who lost her right arm above the elbow in a buscrash in the south of france 7 years ago is well known from the reality tv hitshow “Britain’s Missing Top Model”. Working as a fulltime model she travels all over the world to promote disability in fashion. She’s represented by the worlds topleading “Ben Barry Agency” a modeling agency known for its use of diverse models that also represents America’s (only plussize) Next Top Model Winner: “Whitney Thompson” and works as the spokesperson for a worldwide campaign called Models of Diversity http://www.modelsofdiversity.org
With campaigns for fashion retailers like DiDi fashion and Fudge Hair products you can say she’s been pretty succesful.
After a very busy year in London with highlights such as a paralympic billboard campaign in London, Interviews for talkshow as ITV breakfast show & Channel4 and catwalks for brands as Sonata Lingerie, Debbie decided to ask talented model Shaholly Ayers to promote disability in Los Angeles.
Shaholly Ayers was born an upper extremity amputee, missing her right arm below the elbow. She grew up in the Oregon Cascades with the dream of one day becoming a model.
Despite the negativity she received from people in her town, Shaholly set out to make her dreams come true.
She went to a modeling agency in Honolulu, Hawaii and the agent turned her away telling her, “you will never model, no photographers will ever take your picture,” because she was missing her arm. Without an agent or manager, Shaholly represented herself and went on to grace the covers of two fashion magazines in Hawaii, has been featured in countless ads in magazines, boutiques and across the web, as well as coming close to appearing on Americas Next Top Model Cycle 13.
Legendary model and actress
Christie Brinkley had this to say about the fresh faced model:
…Shaholly is gorgeous! In her eyes I see her looking at a very bright and exciting future!
…Shaholly is not JUST A MODEL….but a role model as she reaches past any “limits’ and right for the stars!!!!!!!!People, like Shaholly who rise to the challenge, are the stuff dreams are made of!!!
Shaholly is not just a pretty face with magnetic personality; she is also intelligent and ambitious, receiving a Masters in Business Administration which she plans to put to good use in the near future.
Shaholly has always felt strongly in helping to spread awareness and knowledge of the people behind their disability. She is active within the community, having volunteered at Shriners Hospital for Children, a nonprofit hospital that cares for all children under the age of 18 with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, cleft lip and palate, as well as amputees. Her mission is to help spread awareness and knowledge about disability. She believes that society’s view of people with disabilities is skewed, and she would like to help them realign their views. As is her slogan, There is nothing wrong with being different – Different is beautiful!
They both believe we should see a better representation of society in fashion and have shown many times disability and fashion go together.
Allthough the success of the London 2012 Paralympics had opened the public’s eyes to the talents of disabled people, we still don’t see disability in fashion
Disabled models are discriminated against in the modelling industry, but more importantly, disabled people (approx. 15% of the population) as a whole are rarely addressed in mainstream advertising. Some retailers have improved access to their web sites, others provide easier access in stores, but rarely do they address and identify with a sector of purchasers that are largely overlooked.
Debbie and Shaholly are here to make that change, and make fashion accesible for everybody.
One of the thing they will do during their trip is a fashionshoot with top photgrapher Mark Sacro who has shot pictures of celebs like Kim Kardashian, Christian Audiger and Guiliana Rancic.
If you would like to recieve more info on the girls or their campaign, send in an interview request, invite the girls for an event or book a photoshoot please contact Debbie@modelsofdiversity.org