limb difference awareness 2019
In April, 19 #Zebedee #Models from ages 2 to 54 took part in this stunning #bodyconfidence shoot with photographer Elise Dumontet. All the Zebedee models have either been born with a #limbdifference or had an #amputation, the images are a celebration of their #selflove and their body acceptance.
Whether their difference is acquired (through cancer, meningitis, accident, diabetes, ex-veterans) or congenital, they really don’t want to fall on their feet anymore, they simply want to be able to stand tall, with and/or without prosthetics.
We all know positive representation matters, be it in the arts, in fashion or in the media. And yet, these guys can probably count on their fingers how many times they’ve seen themselves being represented. Should the shoe ever be on the other foot, how would that make you feel?
Important facts: Did you know that there are about 30M amputees in the world, over 100,000 in the UK alone, with 5,000 amputations performed in the UK every year!!!
I was born with a limb difference where my arm ends very shortly below my right elbow. I grew up on a farm in a small town in Central Florida, along with my twin sister we grew up riding horses and competing. I struggled a lot with bullies in school, insecurity about having one arm and the thought that I was the only one in the world who was born with a limb difference.
Back then we didn't have access to the internet and no one on tv, radio, clothing ads looked like me so I thought I was alone. I used to wear long sleeve shirts and jackets so I could tuck my sleeve into my pockets so that way no one noticed (even though I lived in Florida where it was very very hot all year round). But even then I suffered from people calling me a one armed freak, not playing with me on the playground, and even a guy telling me that he would date me if I had another arm. It was really hard trying to fit in but its even harder when you're physically different. That's why to me its so important to have limb difference awareness month and representation in the media!
I didn't like the way that I felt as a kid and I don't want any other child growing up with the same thoughts in their head as I had. It's important to be yourself and to be different and stand out! Even though I still face issues today regarding my limb difference, I hope to pave the way for the next generation.
Ashley recent modelled for #PaperMagazine
It's so important to raise awareness about limb differences as #amputees are often misrepresented within the media. The world is generally focused on creating the 'perfect image' while others try desperately to fit into that category. While others fight for that, I strive to be individual - to be myself. By raising awareness about limb loss and limb differences, it allows others to really embrace difference and find beauty within it. Difference is beautiful and our differences allow us to educate and empower others who may also be experiencing a difference. As an individual with a limb difference, I'm often stared at and questioned with members of the public. I am very used to experiencing this but I hope with more exposure, people wouldn't feel the need to question me question my story and stare. After spending 14 years in a wheelchair, I actively sought an amputation to allow me to walk (and run). I chose to have a limb difference - I chose to allow myself to be different in order to improve my life chances.
I am different, I am handsome and I have a limb difference.
Chantelle is interested in the creative and performing arts, specialising in acting, dancing, and music. A keen sportswoman, she enjoys swimming, tennis, and netball.
Chantelle has a through the knee amputation and has a full left leg prosthesis.
Mollie enjoys a range of sports and activities, such as netball, gymnastics, free running, ballet, tap dancing, and trampolining. Mollie has a hand difference.
I embrace my prosthetic,I wear it with the same pride as a gorgeous pair of shoes.
I never cover it.
I get annoyed if people don’t notice it. It tells a story about my life,please,feel free to ask me about it.
I understand my level of visibility isn’t for every amputee,each has their own story,their own way of dealing with it,but attitudes have changed and it’s ok to put it on show.
It’s beautiful .
Andrew is a trained hair hair dresser and did all the hair on the shoot day.
I am 26 years old and was diagnosed with bone cancer located in my right femur in July 2016, 2 months after my son was born. After 2 cycles of chemotherapy, Doctors saw that the treatment was not proving as effective as hoped so, in November that year, I had to make the decision to have my leg amputated to decrease the chances of it coming back. I use a prosthesis since April 2017.
Not afraid of a challenge Marleen is always looking for a new adventure.
She is from the Netherlands but has been living in Madrid for over 12 years. She is a proud mom of two boys and loves to travel. When she was 13 she contracted bacterial meningitis. She almost lost her life and was in the hospital for 8 months. She had over 30 surgeries, 3 months in intensive care, 5 liters new blood, uncountable scars and loads of doctors and specialists. In 2016 after many attempts to improve the pain in her left foot, she decided to amputate her lower left leg. It was a really difficult decision to make, but has gotten her really good results. The first year was really tough, but after a year the pain was mostly gone and she started snowboarding. She recently also started running and she loves to dance as well. It has been a long journey to get where she is now, but she feels she is also just beginning. In the winter she is loves to to snowboard and to improve her skills on the mountains. She has recently started modelling and acting. Instead of being ashamed of her scars and leg she is now using it to show it off. She feels it is important to be an example to other people who somehow feel different. She wants everyone to know that it is ok to be different.
Marleen can be seen in the #MercedesBenz commercial 'In the long run'
Losing my arm and shoulder has been unequivocally the best thing that’s happened to me!
It’s important to raise awareness to limb differences as it’s only once you lose the use of a limb through, in my case, traumatic amputation, that you realise the importance and significance of just how much you rely on even a finger or a thumb!!
I have never really faced any direct negative issues, however it does get frustrating when I get on the tube and when people who are sat in the disabled seats look at me realise they’re sat where they are but then carry on with what their doing, it doesn’t bother me really because clearly they need the seat more than me!!! Ignorance is bliss! Unless they’re pregnant, elderly or even have a disability themselves I always offer my seat because manner cost nothing!
Mark is an ex-serviceman who enjoys extreme sports. He is an active dinghy/yacht sailor, and also partakes wing walking and parachuting. Elsewhere, Mark is an antique dealer, so Lovejoy had better watch his back.
Mark is a double below knee amputee and uses prosthetics.
Monty likes snowboarding, cycling, swimming, running and shooting. On the creative side of things, he plays clarinet, piano, guitar, and is also a DJ.
Monty is a left leg below knee amputee, from Fibrous Dysplasia.
Daniel has some high profile experience under his belt, having worked with the BBC, Guinness Book of Records, and SquareEnix previously. His interests are graphic novels, narrative-driven videogames, SciFi movies, doing accents and funny voices, and 3D design and printing.
Daniel was born without a right hand, due to a condition called amelia.
I wasn't born with one leg. I became an #amputee aged 30 following an accident. Some people thought if I had children they would be amputees too, but my difference isn't due to a generic condition. Becoming an amputee was extremely hard at first back in the 1990's because different meant 'outsider', 'not normal', 'weirdo'.People starred at me with shocked judgemental expressions and would wonder how I could possibly get on with life, let alone have children. Raising awareness and increasing representation is so important to challenge misconceptions. We never know what life is going to throw at us. Life-changing injuries are exactly that but it doesn't mean that your life is over. Help is out there for physical support but the rest is up to you. Life in the 21st century is better for people with differences. I want to show society that I have a positive outlook and self determination to be happy. I have two healthy children with two legs each and feel no less a person with only one leg.
I've gained more in confidence and inner strength having lost my leg than I ever did with two legs.
Nancy has had lots of work through Zebedee as well as being a cover girl for Grazia Uk.
Elise Dumontet @elisedumontetphotography @skinwereinproject
Neusa Neves @neusa_nevesloves_mkup
Charlie Duffy @charlieduffymakeup
Andrew Gregory @tattoo_pole_boy
Rob Eden @rob_eden_29
Women's underwear: Figlaves @figleavesofficial
Zoe Proctor @zebedee_management
Out of our awesome 300 talents, from 0 to 70yrs, all abilities, all ages, all races and gender, we are immensely proud to represent 15 children, 8 men and 13 women who are celebrating #LimbDifferenceAwarenessMonth this year, of which 20 are featured in our awareness campaign.
What we are saying is that if you’re guilty of lack of representation in your field, then it might just prove to be your biggest Achille’s heel. However, it’s not too late to make amend just because you have got off the wrong foot…. and we know for a fact you’re not risking life and limb with
inclusion anymore, on the contrary!
Check out the behind the scenes film from the shoot: