When supermodel and television personality Tyra Banks first laid eyes on aspiring model Chantelle Winnie, there was an instant spark! She definitely wanted Winnie to participate in America’s Next Top Model as she believed Winnie was someone who could “break down barriers of what is considered beautiful”.
This thought is not so alien to the world of fashion, as one might think. The fashion industry is breaking decades of ‘homogeneity’ when it comes to prescribed notions of beauty. We no longer live in a world where tall, skinny and a picture perfect body rigidly sums up the concept of fashion. Here are some incredibly motivating stories of models and fashionistas who are questioning stereotypes, celebrating their uniqueness and inspiring us! Have a look.
Down syndrome did not dampen her spirit and she became the face of accessories label EverMaya and a model for active-wear line Manifesta. For 18-year old Madeline Stuart, the first big break was the New York Fashion Week where she walked the ramp in three different looks and went on to win The Melange Model of the Year award. She also has a handbag named after her. Madeline is today an inspiration for diverse models all across the globe.
Having shot to fame because of her participation in America’s Next Top Model, Chantelle is a runway queen in her own right. One of the most widely followed models on Instagram and otherwise, Chantelle, who has walked for celebrated brands like Diesel and Desigual, refused to let her passion die in spite of having vitiligo. She has also modelled for famed photographer Nick Knight and London designer Ashish, who are all praises for the depth and diversity she brings with herself.
The swashbuckling Alex Minsky is a one-legged sensation in the fashion world. Minsky, 25, is an ex-marine who lost his leg in the warzone in Afghanistan and after battling against coma for almost two months and an alcohol problem, he took to body building. The fashion fraternity has gladly accepted him.
Back home here in India, Laxmi, an acid attack survivor, did not succumb to victimhood and broke stereotypes by becoming the ambassador for the ethnic wear brand Viva n Diva. It all started during a photoshoot of a group of acid attack victims including Laxmi by photographer Rahul Saharan. Outside the fashion domain, Laxmi is the director of Channv Foundation, an NGO that works for helping acid attack survivors in India.