• Zoe Protor

Zebedee Celebrates Disability Representation through a collaboration with Huckbody

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

We are releasing images online, in collaboration with Huckbody, in order to raise awareness of the brilliant talent our models have. Huckbody are a Northern England creative consultancy who provided creative direction and production on the shoot. 

Showcasing the potential of the models was at the heart of the shoot, and the images reflect the raw talent that was present. Not only this, but the shoot exemplifies luxury publishing and brand content. The high fashion creatives at Huckbody crafted a wardrobe of independent English designers, tailored to highlight each model’s incredible character. The shoot showcased seven of Zebedee’s amazing models; Bernadette Hagans; Reneé Valentine; Mollie Pearce; Johannah Sangster; Nancy Harris; Angela Selvarajah and Ellie Goldstein. These women all have different stories, and they came together to produce some amazing images.

This collaboration calls for these women to be respected as models, but also for them to tell their stories. Turning a blind eye to the treatment of disabled people in the media is no longer acceptable. We have spoken with some of the models on the Zebedee X Huckbody shoot to tell their story, and explain the importance of disability representation:

Bernadette Hagans

Bernadette is a model from Belfast who has a prosthetic leg due to cancer. 

What does disability representation mean to you?

I think it’s so important to keep raising awareness of different disabilities and how we can still live completely normal lives. So many people don’t understand that having a disability doesn’t make you any less of a person, we all deserve equality and inclusion. 

What does modelling make you feel? 

I feel empowered when I model. Before my amputation of my leg, I was really shy. Modelling has helped my confidence grow and I feel amazing shooting. I love that I’m able to be a part of the change in the industry.

Who inspires you?

I would say my family and friends do. Everyone has their own issues and journeys but I love that we can all keep pushing forward and overcome it.

What is your proudest moment so far?

Getting booked by a brand I really wanted to work with made me so proud because I didn’t think I could do it. I now feel like I can keep pushing towards anything that I want. 

What is your biggest goal?

I love using what has happened to me to inspire others to embrace what makes them different. My biggest goal would be to be a part of a big, worldwide campaign that will raise so much awareness of models with disabilities.

Do you want to see more disability inclusion in the fashion, advertising and media world? 

I definitely want to see more difference/disability inclusion in the fashion, advertising and media world because I think they are all lacking so much. Right now we have some brands pushing for diversity but I hope one day that people with a disability will be equally as considered as someone without a disability.

What did the Huckbody shoot mean to you?

The Huckbody shoot was such an amazing experience. I remember before my amputation, when some people found out about it they were telling what I could do to hide my leg. This shoot will show that you can still look & feel good with a difference or disability. I got to work with such talented people whilst modelling high fashion, I loved that we created such a contrast between the masculine/feminine look while working with a contrast between looking human/robotic because it shows that we should accept people no matter what they look like.

Mollie Pearce

Mollie is an 18 year old who was born with missing digits on her right hand.

What does modelling with a disability mean to you?

Since I started modelling my confidence has grown massively and I am no longer afraid to show my disability off. 

What did the Huckbody shoot mean to you?

It is an amazing campaign and gives us all the chance to display our beautiful differences. I never thought I would have the confidence to put my disability out for the world to see and without campaigns like this I doubt I would have. It’s so important for the media to see that you don’t need to be perfect to be beautiful and everyone deserves to be accepted.

Renee Bryant-Mulcare

Renee has paraplegia, and is a full time wheelchair user. She is 21.

Renee is a creative and energetic individual who enjoys promoting positivity and self empowerment. She likes working out, meditation, drawing, writing, yoga, and spending time with family and friends. ​

Ellie Goldstein

Ellie is 18 and has Down Syndrome.
Ellie loves reading, drama and dancing, and has a confident and outgoing personality. Hers is a deep passion for the performing arts. 

She has recently seen phenomenal career success with her campaign for Gucci Beauty in Vogue Italia.

Nancy Harris

Nancy is a 52 year old mum of 2. She is a model and amputee. 

Tell us about yourself:

I am a mum of 2, counsellor, advocate, model and amputee. These labels define my role, my identity and my physical state, but only by society’s expectations of me. The way I choose to love my life is up to me and I choose to break the stereotypes and do things my way.

What does disability representation mean to you? 

After dark times of feeling lost in an empty, disabled world I am delighted that we can engage the public through modelling campaigns and celebrate our differences. I am all about raising awareness and understanding of the key health issues that disabled people face on a daily basis and campaigns like these can offer a sense of belonging to those who feel marginalised because of their disability, as well as educate those who still put us in the shade.

What does modelling make you feel? 

Alive and important. I have a platform to show off fantastic clothes in a body that has a story to tell. But I also feel responsible for helping to pave the way so that it becomes normal to see disabled models on the tv and not exceptional.

Who inspires you?

Dame Tanny Grey-Thompson for pushing for the Paralympics and Liz Carr for her campaigning for disability rights and getting the BBC to reflect the reality of our world by creating her character on Silent Witness.

What is your proudest moment so far? 

Dancing down a catwalk in my bikini for the world to see. That was when I knew I’d found self-love and body-confidence.

What is your biggest goal? 

To see the normalisation of disability in the fashion world with an honest image of society.

Do you want to see more disability inclusion in the fashion, advertising and media world? 

Of course! There is not nearly enough representation of disabled people. Imagine how disabled teenagers feel scrolling through Instagram? A lack of visibility and access to high-end clothes sends the message that fashion is not there for us. Adaptive clothing is helping with simply getting dressed but there needs to be more. I want to be able to express myself through fashion like everyone else.

What did the Huckbody shoot mean to you? 

That’s what this shoot did for me. I could stand tall and proud with my prosthetic leg on display and not feel embarrassed or ashamed because I’m different. I was there representing so many other women who feel like they don’t fit into a stereotype. Being part of this shoot meant I was chosen for just being me.

Angela Selvarajah

Angela is 33 and has vitiligo which is widespread around her body.​

Angela enjoys listening to music and dancing. Angela used to sing on Sri-Lankan programmes and shows when she was younger and has modelled for campaigns around vitiligo.

What does disability representation mean to you?

Disability representation is important as this is a time for sharing and educating people within society and around the world about differences and disabilities. Differences and disabilities are also normal and beautiful!

What does modelling make you feel?

I love modelling it makes me feel special and happy. I used to be so closed up as I was ashamed and embarrassed of the way I looked but when I started modelling I felt like nice. After every shoot I feel a little bit more confident than from when I started.

Who inspires you?

Winnie Harlow has definitely been inspiring as she has always exposed her skin with extreme confidence. It is definitely inspiring to see someone with the same condition as me being so confident and not hiding their difference.

What is your proudest moment so far?

My proudest moment so far definitely has to be stepping outside my house with no make up for the first time. My vitiligo started from when I was 14 but it wasn’t until I started modelling (at the age of 32) that I felt confident enough to step outside my house with no make up on whatsoever. I’m finally able to be myself and feel happy about the skin that I’m in!

What is your biggest goal?

My biggest goal is definitely to help others with the same condition as me to feel as comfortable and confident within their skin. I feel that I am making a change in society by modelling and getting myself out there to normalise differences in the fashion/ media world. I think it’s important to share awareness around differences and disabilities so that children nowadays are able to see that we are all human and beautiful and normal no matter what we look like or what we are able to do.

Do you want to see more Disability inclusion in the fashion,Advertising and media world?

I definitely want to see more disability inclusion in the fashion advertising and media world as it’s important for children growing up to see others with differences and disability and understand that it is okay, beautiful and normal.

It is important for others with differences and disabilities to also see other people in the fashion, advertising and media world with people that they can relate to who may be an inspiration to them. These kind of representations will definitely boost more peoples confidence.

What did the Huckbody shoot mean to you?

I loved it! It really made me feel beautiful. It was really nice having my make up, hair done as well as modelling in clothes that we usually see in magazines and media. The atmosphere was buzzing and everyone from the stylists to photographers were so friendly and fun! I felt that the shoot was really powerful as it showed it didn’t matter about your difference or disability – we all rocked and the day was amazing!

Johannah Sangster

Johannah is a model with hypermobility syndrome, who has also recently graduated from a Masters of Science. 

What does disability representation mean to you?

Representation is something that I feel particularly strongly about, due to my own experiences having an ‘invisible illness’. I’m sure that a greater understanding of hidden disabilities would have positively affected my life in several ways. The first step in my disabled journey may have been easier if I knew of a reference point for hidden disabilities, but as it was, I didn’t accept that I could have a ‘chronic’ problem for a long time, due to the fact that I didn’t ‘look disabled’ when I looked in the mirror. If I couldn’t see myself as someone with a chronic condition, it’s no wonder that people like me who have to make visible adaptations to their behaviour and life, while not offering a surface explanation of why, are often treated with judgement or dismissal. Representation is important in combating this. 

What does modelling make you feel? 

Modelling helps me claim ownership over an aspect of my life which is out of my control. Exhibiting mobility aids instead of hiding them away has a wonderful effect on confidence and acceptance. 

Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by the community of people with chronic conditions online, who share their truth, and lift one another up. 

What is your proudest moment so far?

Finishing my MSc with a Distinction, after basing my final project on accessibility. It was tough, having very limited time each day when I had the ability to work, so I’m very pleased. 

What is your biggest goal?

I’m developing a brand for people with invisible illnesses and their supporters (‘Invisible Illness Squad’), and I’d love to continue to see that grow. It’s been incredible being able to share this with other amazing people on Instagram (@chick_with_a_walking_stick), and the sense of community that has come from the ‘squad’ has been wonderful. 

Do you want to see more disability inclusion in the fashion, advertising and media world? 

Of course there should be more inclusion in the fashion world. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a model with a walking stick, even though it’s really no effort for a brand to implement that. I’ve heard the argument that it ‘distracts from the clothing’, but if a design can be that easily distracted from, it needs to go back to the drawing board anyway!

What did the Huckbody shoot mean to you?

It just highlights how unusual it is to see something like this, when it shouldn’t be at all.



Creative Direction & Production by HUCKBODY @huckbody_ assisted by Laura Huckbody @huckbody24 & India Proctor @indiaproctorr

Photography by Darren Black @darren_black

Videography by Dani Lanae @calltheshots__

Post production by Chris Carr @carr4081 at Brain 

Make-up by Helen Brady @helenbradymua using Illamasqua @illamasqua assisted by Monica Montalvo @monicamontalvomua

Hair by Mary Geoghegan using Sebastian Professional @sebastianpro_official assisted by Annette Gray @nettgray