• Zoe Protor


Nancy and Sophie talk about their shoot experience in Berlin with Leaps By Bayer.


The experience of the shoot was amazing. It was one of my highlights of my year so far. It was my first overseas modelling experience. An expense paid for trip to Berlin with my mom too – who is my carer. Leaps by Bayers’ photographers, hair and makeup artists were all lovely. They spoke through with me what they wanted and allowed me to show them what clothing I had brought and my own opinion and always made sure I was comfortable with what I was doing – especially as my shoot was about my heart condition to show my scar down my chest – they made sure they were shooting in a respectful way. It was one of the shoots I had felt most comfortable with and I loved the look and what I was representing.

Leaps by Bayer is aiming to conquer ten huge challenges facing humanity. I was chosen to represent the third leap of curing congenital heart disease.

I have more than 10 different conditions, but this was focusing on my congenital heart disease. I was born with a rare condition called Total Pulmonary Venous Drainage, which is a chronic heart defect. I have had 5 open heart surgeries and too many cardiac catheters to count! I was on feeding and oxygen tubes most of my childhood and a lot of medication. I am fortunate for all the support from the hospital and my family growing up to a young woman. The condition does still affect me, I suffer from chronic fatigue and I suffer from chest pain and palpitations, breathlessness and general un comfort a lot of the time, however I make the most of my days when I am feeling ‘up too it’ and hibernate away on my own to recover and feel myself again in the meantime!

I have been a member of Zebedee Management since October 2017, I knew I was an awkward person, but I knew it was something I wanted to push myself to do. I have since been involved in numerous opportunities and slowly becoming more confident in front of the camera and in myself. It has brought a meaning to my life, in the sense of I feel proud to be a person with numerous invisible disabilities and meeting so many other people who do not fit the stereotypical thought of being disabled! It is something I am passionate about, when I finish university I hope to work part time with people with invisible disabilities. All the events with Zebedee and the shoots are always worth it and it’s such a confidence boost and a new sense of self-worth! It is also amazing to not feel lonely anymore - to meet people like wise, I have friends outside of Zebedee but because they do not have disabilities they do not understand completely, or some people do not even try to understand, I do not have to justify myself, explain, or prove anything too anyone because for once I have met other people similar to me, or are suffering a lot more than me and still manage to look gorgeous and probably have to prove or take time explaining or justifying themselves to other people, but Zebedee are amazing at raising awareness and being such an inclusive agency and that is why I think it is so successful – so quickly!


My first oversees modelling experience with Bayer was extremely positive. Because the shoot was in the afternoon I was flown to Berlin in the morning and stayed that night in a hotel just down the road, flying back the next day. All expenses were paid and my needs were taken into account. The team of MUA, directors and photographers were professional, directive and enthusiastic. I knew what I had to do and the time schedule ran to plan. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

‘Leaps’ by Bayer is spearheading a movement to make paradigm-shifting advances in the life sciences – targeting the breakthroughs that could fundamentally change the world for the better. With a 150-year history in life sciences and capabilities across healthcare and agriculture, Bayer is able to see the bigger picture. It is aiming to conquer ten huge challenges facing humanity.

I was chosen to represent their second leap ‘02 – Cure life-threatening bleeding disorders’. I have Factor V Leiden which is a genetic blood disorder. Factor V is a protein in the blood required for normal clotting. Factor V Leiden is an abnormal version of Factor V that is resistant to some enzyme reactions and continues to form clots, therefore making me susceptible to deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolisms and strokes. I had 4 big clots in my calf, thighs and abdomen just after giving birth to my son in 1998. I take blood thinning medication when I need routine hospital treatment and at any times where I am immobile. The way I manage this disorder is by eating healthily, keeping my weight down and keeping as fit and active as I can.

I joined Zebedee in April 2017. I was nervous about whether I would get any jobs and I admit a little hesitant about putting myself forward. I’m not a natural a performer. As the months went by there were more and more opportunities to try new things and I’m still learning how to relax in front of the camera. On shoots my instinct is always to smile and I’m practising my strong, confident look, which is what I get asked to show and how I’m always feeling inside these days. I may be the other side of 50 but this is still the beginning for me and I’m loving every minute. The excitement seeing new jobs posted, the anticipation in waiting to see who gets picked and the support from everyone in Zebedee. One of the best decisions in my life was to sign up with Zebedee because it has gifted me acceptance and self-belief.

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