Models have generally been categorized in one group, until now!
Modeling is an industry that very few dare to even explore, but these inspiring women will make you feel otherwise.
We have seen in the past few years, more agencies opening their doors to a bigger range of diversity. Time and time again, plus size models struggled to be accepted by designers and their brands.
Plus size model Ashley Graham is a perfect example of breaking down barriers in the modeling world.
But now, it’s time to look beyond color and size, by adding in disabilities.
Lyric Mariah Heard is your typical model. The only thing that may seem different about her is that she has one foot and two disfigured hands.
Heard was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, a random, non-genetic birth defect that’s caused in-utero.
However, instead of letting her disability slow her down or set her apart from the rest, she continues to live her life.
“Aside from what most people may think I am still fully functional without my leg,” she tells Yahoo Style. “I aspire to be a voice — to be a go-to when people need a reminder on self-love.”
A passion like modeling is not only something that Heard loves to do, she also uses it to show a different side of models.
“My appearance gave me a purpose and my modeling gave me a platform,” she says. “Society has a way of making people feel lost and invisible, and unfortunately many people never shake that because it’s hard and it takes faith.”
Growing up, due to her disability, Heard was bullied. However, that still did not stop her. She took her bullied moments and turned them into words of encouragement.
“Own what makes you different — no one can be you like you,” she says she realized. “And if you can’t work with what you have, then you will get lost.”
Major retailer, Nordstrom, who has been featuring models with disabilities since 1991, recently featured Shaholly Ayers.
Ayers, who has a prosthetic right forearm, was featured in their recent Summer sports catalog.
Words of inspiration, Heard says, “I think about my goals, and I think about the people that have already reached the goals that I have on my list, and I think: They didn’t get there by second guessing themselves.”
Take a look at the pictures from Heard and Ayers below, and let us know what inspires you!