Kylie Jenner has been hitting headlines again this week for all the wrong reasons. The darling of the Kardashian clan took to the front cover of Interview magazine, sporting the fleekest of fashion accessories for the season… a wheelchair.
Obviously this didn’t go down too well with those who actually have no choice but to use a wheelchair for the purpose of getting around on a daily basis, as opposed to for the purpose of appearing ‘edgy’ in a photo shoot.
The images, shot by Steven Klein, were labelled as ‘appropriation’ and ‘ableism’ by angry tweeters with many questioning why actual disabled models were not chosen to grace the cover. And in all fairness, Interview had a plethora of stunning disabled models to choose from. Just take a look:
1) Aimee Mullins
Actress, Athlete and Model – there seems to be nothing this flawless woman can’t do. American born Mullins had fibular hemimelia, which resulted in her getting both her legs amputated when she was just one-year-old. She has too many achievements to list, but they include modelling for Alexander McQueen, competing in the Paralympics and being hand appointed to State Department’s Council to Empower Women and Girls Through Sports. Basically, Mullins is just an all-round badass.
2) Elesha Turner
British model Elesha Turner was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called Parosteal Osteosarcoma in 2013. Elesha was warned she may have to have her leg amputated as result, but medics performed an operation which removed her femur bone, knee and the top part of the tibia, replacing them with titanium. After her grueling rehabilitation, the British beauty went on to be signed by Models of Diversity. #FuckCancer
3) Debbie van der Putten
This mesmerising model hails from Amsterdam, but spends her life jetting off around the world like the superstar she is. Debbie lost her arm in an accident while on holiday with friends in the South of France when she was just 19. Rather than letting her new disability slow her down, Debbie used it as opportunity to transform her life. She decided that the dictionary definition of disabled didn’t apply to her, so she’s reinventing her own definition.
4) Kelly Knox
Kelly has become a household in the British fashion industry after winning BBC3’s Britain’s Missing Top Model in 2008. She’s gone on to model in London Fashion Week, as well as fronting campaigns for Vo5 and Samsung. The bombshell has showcased her striking look all over the world, including the USA, Europe and China.
5) Viktoria Modesta
You probably remember Viktoria after her Channel 4 debut in 2014 as “the world’s first amputee popstar”. Viktoria was born in Latvia and the lower part of her leg had been damaged since birth. She moved to the UK when she was 12, at 14 the avant-garde songstress was borderline suicidal. This fearless Queen decided at just fifteen that she wanted to amputate her leg, to “build an identity she was comfortable with, as opposed to the one that was given to her”.
6) Jillian Mercado
Jillian is just 26 years old but is already making massive waves in the fashion world and has been for a few years now, after fronting a 2014 Diesel campaign. This pretty New-Yorker suffers from muscular dystrophy which has confined her to a wheelchair. But far from restricting her, Miss Mercado puts us all to shame by juggling her modelling career with blogging and being a fashion editor.
7) Jake Eyers
I couldn’t let this list end without a beautiful male specimen. If you haven’t heard of him already, meet Jake Eyers, aka your new amour. Jake was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency, which means his leg didn’t have any muscle structure or a knee joint. After having his leg amputated at 16, Jake went on to be the first disabled male to model in New York’s Fashion Week. Keep doing you Jake – you are perfection personified.