Models of Diversity: could you be the next hot disabled model?
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 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?
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 email@example.com for more details.
And for those that missed it, here’s the Models of Diversity documentary.
• 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving your comments below.
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.
Hi. My name is Alireza Mohammadi. I was looking for people who are working in the fashion industry with the situations similar to me. I have dystonia which makes me have some troubles with the walking. I am so passionate about the fashion and being a model. But, due to the religious and cultural aspects in my country, fashion is a prohibited issue here. By founding your profile in the facebook I got my hope back that people with disabilities can work in this field. I would be really grateful if you consider it and give me some advice on how I can enter this field or whom can I contact with to get information.
Thank you in advanced for your time and considerations.
Thank you for sharing your story. We’d recommend you get in touch with Models of Diversity (www.modelsofdiversity.org).
Best of luck,
Hello there, my name is James Kearney, I am deaf and handicapped. I am from American. I have been looking for model careers, because I really enjoy fashion and art. Unfortunately, I learned they live in UK but I am willing to take this opportunity to travel for a job as well. I would be really grateful if they give me some advice how to apply online or whom can I contact with to get info. Thank you for your information here; and this is really encourage the people with disabilities.
Hi there I’m ria Mitcham I’m in a wheelchair
Hello I dont know how to do this but I have an idea that Torid may want to be involved in….you see I have an invisible disabillity (autism and ADHD ) and what i would love to do is find a company that wants a model who advocates for those like her and stands up for the injustices that happen to those with issues like hers. Prime example is here in Edmonton where i live many of us with high function needs have no resources and what is out there isnt trained enough to support those like me or dont have the resources or funding to facilitate the needs for those like me so in turn finding work is hard and many have to struggle. What I would love to do and see is to find a company that is willing to help me break the silence via threw modeling and do a modeling type thing for adults where we call it “THE FACES OF INVISIBLE DISABILITY”and teach the world that that not all things are seen and in turn raise awareness. the issue is here in Canada (i have done 8 years of research on this) most things ie programs,studies,funding ) go to the more severe or seen issues or those less of 18 and yet disability is for life …….I should know as what I have never stopped lol. What I want to see is for people to stop looking for a cure as if one were to ask those like me if we wanted a cure I bet that many would say no ……..I for one would have a resounding no to cure as I am not broken. What people like me want is acceptance,understanding and the ability to do what most take for granted………we want to work,succeed and thrive in life without having to struggle or face ignorance and bigotry on account of looks. It time that companies take a look at how they view people as many face challenge due to having invisible issues that unless one is trained to know what to look for one never sees it . My wish is to not only model for this but to also speak out and teach many that not all that is seen is the truth or is what it is ……….people have to open their eyes and ask before they assume thus understanding and acceptance can start