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Friday, 5 September 2014

Modelling: Viktoria Modesta Moskalova


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Disabled models - visible or hidden disability - are a rare sight on the catwalk, but what about a model who is not only open about her prosthesis, but fully embraces it?

Meet Viktoria Modesta Moskalova; this Latvian-born, London-based musician and model is in her words a literal 'bionic girl', wearing a prosthetic leg as the result of long term health problems. Rather than let this stop her from modelling, Viktoria makes it a key feature of her image, wearing Swarovski embellished and industrial-esque prosthetics in what is probably the most perfect 'fuck you' to the ableist nature of the modelling industry I've ever seen. If I had a girl crush, she would be it.

Source

Though her roots lie in London's underground fetish and alternative scene, Modesta has famously performed at the 2012 Paralympics closing ceremony, and has been featured in Bizarre, Skin Two, iD and Wonderland, as well as major newspapers such as the Times. As if that's not enough, she also DJs, hosts clubs, fashion events and collaborates with designers on both fashion and prosthetics, often producing a merging of the two. She represents a kind of frank and self-directed sexuality which is usually denied to disabled people, in her modelling - which she was involved in even before her amputation - as well as her own personal style and confidence.

Found on tumblr. 

Unlike the news articles which often talk of her 'overcoming adversity' she is relentlessly positive about her prosthesis, describing how it has 'added' to her and treating it as a fashion accessory, and believes her success "has been attributed to hard work and general determination in life – and not my limbs, real or not". She's also delighted to act as a conduit for the discussion of disabled beauty, however, though not personally identifying as such, stating of her performances, “It was really fascinating watching people’s reactions because most of them were speechless."


Though perhaps a future of widespread, voluntary body augmentation is still confined to science fiction, Modesta certainly challenges perceptions about disability and beauty.


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6 comments:

  1. Being a sci-fi/cyberpunk geek, I of course love her awesome leg in the second picture. (though I also love the famous Alexander McQueen wooden leg too.) I really hope there's a cool limb designer who's making fashionable limbs for people.

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    1. There is! Look up the Alternative Limb Project; not only do they do hyper realistic prosthesis, but they also do high fashion and conceptual pieces, including plenty for Modesta herself.

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  2. Oh, that's amazing! It's bad I suddenly want a prosthetic limb, isn't it?

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    1. The idea of having prosthetic limbs which can be switched and swapped like accessories (because why wouldn't they be?) is certainly an amazing one; as it is, I'm rather too attached to my current ones for voluntary removal!

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  3. I wish there were more disabled models! I have seen a British TV show about a disabled modelling competition, and I really think we need a wider view of beauty! I like her cool Steampunk looking metal leg! She is awesome!

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    1. Oh god, I remember that, actually! She's a pretty amazing model regardless, but I do like her attitude to her prosthesis.

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