Models of Diversity: could you be the next hot disabled model?

Models of Diversity workshop
Provided by ReadSpeaker

How often do you see someone with a disability working as a model? Answer: rarely. That’s exactly why Angel Sinclair started Models of Diversity, an organisation that aims to put a diverse range of models into the spotlight. 

Angel Sinclair, originally from East London, is a mother of four and grandmother to another four children, has modeled herself and worked for many years as an advocate for victims of domestic violence. But her credentials don’t end there.

Since 2008 she has been working to change the fashion and beauty industry to include a wide range of models of all sizes, shapes, ages and abilities. And they’re always looking for new models, particularly those with disabilities. So we simply had to have a chat with Angel to find out more about how it all started, and what’s next.

Please can you tell us a bit about Models of Diversity and how it started?

I was taking part in Gok’s Miss Naked Beauty in 2008, and struck by the range of beautiful women taking part, I asked myself: why is it that we don’t see such diversity in the glossy magazines and in fashion shows. I felt I needed to do something to change the status quo. So gradually the campaign to make a  change took shape.

We’ve always tried to be positive and engaging, so rather than protest about the lack of diverse models, we show what we mean with fashion shows, photo shoots and recently our first documentary.

Our social media following grows daily and we’re lucky to get support from opinion formers too, like Dr Estella Sneider and model and actress Christie Brinkley, who give our campaign a real boost.

What are the aims of Models of Diversity as an organisation? 

Day to day it’s about getting professionals in the industry and people in general to think about how damaging it can be to continually present what’s beautiful in a way that so many can’t identify with, damaging not least to younger people. Long term, we aim to change the fashion and beauty industry to be more representative.

Models of Diversity models

Models of Diversity runs a number of different events including fashion shows and workshops, can you tell us a bit about the up and coming Introduction to Modelling workshop?

Our workshops and events are for anyone who’s ever wondered if they could be a model. Here you can learn the basics of the work a model needs to put in, hearing from people in the business with real practical experience. We are especially keen to hear from people with a disability. We had thought about a dedicated class, but the industry doesn’t work that way so it’s more realistic to hold mixed workshops.

It’s good to remember that you don’t need any previous modeling experience to attend the workshop -  absolute beginners welcome!

What will people gain from attending this workshop?

We want attendees to leave with a better understanding of their body, knowing how to pose and look your best, all leading to improved confidence. You’ll also get some images to start your portfolio, of course.

I read that your models will have the opportunity to go to Los Angeles to do some modelling, can you tell us a bit about that?

It’s early days, but we’re in talks with some supporters in the US regarding a fashion show – we’re very keen to raise Models of Diversity’s profile in America.

Can you tell us about any other up coming events/workshops happening this year?

Models of Diversity - Ideal Home Show

Kelly Knox at the Ideal Home Show

We had a very busy close to 2013 with Catwalk4Change fashion show and appearing at the Christmas Ideal Home Show, so we have nothing planned immediately but we’re working through a few ideas – as always!

As an organisation, what are hoping to achieve this year?

We’d like to see a major online fashion retailer feature a model with a disability. We’re talking to a number of retailers and have some other plans afoot to raise the issue of models that are just forgotten. And as always, we’d like more Facebook group members, more Twitter followers so we can spread the work, and more models on our books!

Models of Diversity workshop – next on the 15th February

You may have never believed that a disability meant you couldn’t model. But Models of Diversity are showing that the industry isn’t always about being Kate Moss.

If you’re interested in seeing what being a model would be like, here are the details for the next workshop:

• The session costs £125 with concessions available
• It runs from 9am to 3.30pm, with a buffet lunch at 12pm
• Haydon Way, London – not far from Clapham Junction

If you’re interested in attending, check the Models of Diversity website front page where you can book your place. You can also email workshops@modelsofdiversity.org for more details.

And for those that missed it, here’s the Models of Diversity documentary.

By Zubee

Check out…

Dating confessions of a 20-something disabled guy
Calling all budding disabled film makers!
Is it time for our close up?

Are you a model, actress, actor or dancer? We’d love to hear your story – get in touch by messaging us on Facebook, tweeting us @DHorizons, emailing us at editor@disabilityhorizons.com or leaving your comments below.

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  • LizRansome

    I love this organisation. I am sick of seeing so many stick thin, unblemished, ‘perfect’ models. What’s wrong with using a wheelchair, having a prosthetic limb, or scars.

    I wear my scars with pride, and I want everyone to have the confidence to wear their unique qualities with pride too – they’re part of you, and there is NOTHING wrong with that.

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