Models are beautiful. Their bodies are one which many people would die for. But the modeling career is not a smooth ride. There are many downsides. And also, the models themselves advertise body standards that are not realistic. Modeling requires one to be slim, and not everyone would fit there. That is why the body positivity movement was introduced. The aim is to make the different body types to be featured in this career as well, especially people with disabilities.
There is so much talent hidden within people living with disabilities. But there is no platform for these individuals to showcase their potential. But even though they are underrepresented, that does not hinder some of them from standing up and letting the world see what they can do. One such person is an amputee model called Shaholly Ayers, who despite living with a disability, didn’t allow that to hold her back from her dream of modeling.
Being born with only half an arm, Shaholly experienced many discouragements, mostly which were created by other people. Many people did not believe that she could do anything with her present arm condition. She was discouraged from participating in many activities such as the basketball team. And so even when she started pursuing her modeling dream, she didn’t receive any different reception.
Ayers told TODAY style of the many heartbreaking comments and advice she got when she first started. She says she approached one of the agents and even after trying to explain to her that she had a prosthesis, the agent told her that it was impossible for her to be a model because she did not have two arms.
It was that conversation that almost took away her dream of becoming a model. But she did not quit. Although she was angry, she decided that it was time to take her career into her own hands. She started working with different photographers and makeup artists and visited stores offering her modeling services. And today, ten years down the line, she has built a solid career as a fashion model. She has walked on the New York Fashion week runaway for six seasons, and she still receives calls from many agents wanting to take her up.
And as she told TODAY style, she is comfortable wearing and not wearing her prosthesis. One thing she says she has realized is that the directors are very understanding and want models to present their true selves. So depending on the nature of the shoot, they let her decide whether or not to wear a prosthesis.
Ayers has inspired many people with similar conditions ever since she started modeling. She says she has received a lot of exciting stories from many parents and other amputees, which have also motivated her.