Is the fashion world ready for a disabled model?
Probably not, says Sophie Morgan, one of eight disabled women vying for a modelling career on the reality series Britain’s Missing Top Model.
“I loved that the show raised that question and tried to answer it,” says Morgan, who was paralyzed below her chest in a car accident six years ago.
“And I think the disabled have every right to share that catwalk.
“But whether the fashion world is ready and you can make a living at it, I have to honestly say not yet.”
Britain’s Missing Top Model explores that question in great detail as it puts its contestants — who have disabilities as varied as deafness, missing limbs and brain injuries — through their supermodel paces as they vie for a modelling contract and a magazine shoot.
BMTM best resembles your typical model search show but one that challenges society’s preconceptions on beauty.
“I was worried the show would be handled badly,” says the Sussex-born Morgan, the only contestant in a wheelchair.
“But in the end, I decided it would be a challenge and a weird thing to do.
“So I did it. And I enjoyed it. And it definitely taught me things and gave me more confidence.”
Confidence — apparently — that made her realize she didn’t want to be a model.
“It sort of pushed me away from modelling. I didn’t like how the models were treated and how they didn’t have a voice. It was all about clothes,” she says.
A lot of Morgan’s time these days is spent as the spokeswoman for IMPERFECT, an organization that functions as both a support group and an activist group that draws attention to cases of disability discrimination.
“It’s aimed at inspiring self-confidence and empowering disabled people to stand up for themselves.”