New York, Sept 22: For models, physical perfection is considered to be a must have. There is almost no way that one can aspire to become a successful model if there is a serious shortfall in their physical constitution. But there are always people on this planet who love to challenge the 'normal' and yet make their own space by being an 'exception'. Shaholly Ayers is one of them.
Born without an arm below the right elbow, Shaholly, a resident of Honolulu, Hawaii, didn't hear a "yea" much in her life since childhood. As a child, then as a teenager and finally in the college - whenever Shaholly tried to pursue something she loved to do, she was stopped from doing because of her physical challenge. She told TODAY that when she approached a fashion agency to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion model, she was told on her face that she could not become a model since she didn't have both her arms. She even tried to convince them that she has a prosthesis but even that did not work out.
That was 10 years ago and though it was a shocking rejection, Ayers never let go her dream and despite facing all hardships, she went up the stairs. She built her own portfolio and then modelled for local boutiques.
"I was so new, I was so green. I didn't have a portfolio or anything. I had to start at the very beginning. I worked with photographers and makeup artists to build my portfolio first, and then I started going to local boutiques and telling them I'd model for them. It worked," TODAY quoted Ayers as saying.
Ayers has now participated in six seasons of New York Fashion Week and also walked the runway for Arts Hearts Fashion's shows recently. He is also the amputee model for Global Disability Inclusion, a consulting firm which advises companies on attracting and hiring people with challenges.
"She embodies all we represent," one of the firm's representatives told TODAY Style over an email. "To show the world that a person with a disability is capable, confident, qualified (and, yes, beautiful) to be a world-class model."