A 9-year-old girl has become the first double amputee child model to walk the runway at New York Fashion Week. It is a rather specific category, we know, but one that still deserves to be celebrated in an industry constantly struggling with diversity.
Daisy-May Demetre is young girl from Birmingham, England, who got her big break in modelling when she became the campaign face of fashion retailer River Island.
The young girl was born with a condition called fibular hemimelia. She was born missing part or all of the fibula bones in both legs and while still a baby Daisy had both legs amputated.
She was approached to model at New York after being spotted at the London Kid’s Fashion Week in 2018.
It was Lulu et Gigi’s designer, Eni Hegedűs-Buiron, who spotted the 8-year-old model and decided to offer her a place modelling for the haute couture children’s brand. She walked the catwalk with her older sister Ellie.
Daisy will also be modelling at the Eiffel Tower for Paris Fashion Week this month.
She enters the fashion industry at a time when it is making efforts to be more inclusive, and diverse in its representation. Though the first child double amputee to walk New York’s catwalk, she is not the first double amputee to walk at one of the world’s top fashion weeks.
In 1999, Paralympian Aimee Mullins walked for Alexander McQueen at his runway show in London. She went on to be featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and in 2011 became a global ambassador for L'Oréal.
Like Daisy, Aimee Mullins was also born with fibular hemimelia and had both calf bones amputated at a young age.
Rebekah Marine can proudly claim to currently be one of the only professional models in existence to be a bionic model. She owes the name to the bionic arm and hand that she has worn since 2011. She wears a state-of-the-art, up-to-date bionic arm and has gone onto model for magazine’s Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue, TIME and has walked the New York Fashion Week.
Another model to share the title of bionic model is Elesha Turner. Elesha was diagnosed with bone cancer, Parosteal Osteosarcoma, at the age of 19 and had to have half the bones in her legs replaced with titanium. She is currently signed with MK Model Management and is studying at the Royal Central School for Speech and Drama.
Kelly Knox was the winner of Britain’s Next Top Missing Model in 2008. Kelly was born without her left forearm and refused to wear a prosthetic from the age of 7. She has modelled at the New York and London fashion weeks and in 2018 fronted a modelling campaign for Irish fashion retailer Primark.
In 2016 Kelly Knox was shortlisted by The National Diversity Awards for Celebrity of the Year. She, like all the other models on this list, works as an active campaigner to increase representation and understanding of physically disabled models.
Daisy-May Demetre now joins their ranks, and her place in the fashion world is just at the beginning. The 9-year-old is also a keen gymnast and has the full support of her father Alex who says there is nothing that his daughter cannot do.
Daisy-May has already garnered national attention and has been featured in news pieces by ITV and Barcroft TV. The young girl has over 20 thousand followers on Instagram. She is managed by Zebedee management.
Zebedee is a specialist modelling agency that works specifically with children and adults with disabilities. With one of the founders an experienced social worker they are changing the modelling world from the ground up, by creating a caring and inclusive agency demanding representation of differently abled models.