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This Girl with Cerebral Palsy Is Changing Disability Representation in Fashion

emily prior

Photo by Tamara Crisp

When Australian 8-year-old Emily Prior would flip through catalogs and magazines, she always noticed the same thing–none of the other kids looked like her. Her mom, Jen Prior, never exactly knew what to say, as her daughter has cerebral palsy, but raised her to have a healthy and positive relationship with her body.

Jen Prior stated how hard it is to give an answer to a question that has no good answer, telling The Mighty:

“[It] was hard to answer truthfully, as realistically, society doesn’t see disability as beautiful. While I certainly don’t leave it to the media alone to shape my daughters own thoughts, self-esteem and ideas about her body image, what hope [does she have to form] a positive one when she never gets to see people like her being represented?”

Instead of leaving the conversation at that, however, Prior got in touch with fashion and event photographer Stefan Gosatti, who ended up doing a photo shoot with Emily. The reaction to the photos has been astoundingly positive—and now Emily is modeling. So far, she’s fighting for disability representation in mainstream media by working as an ADInclusion Ambassador at Starting With Julius, and has also been involved in campaigns with Rock Your Baby, Alex & Ant, BettsKids Shoes and Ability Centre.

Emily’s work with modeling gives her hope that kids with disabilities will start being seen in more photo shoots and campaigns across all brands. Her mom summed it up perfectly:

“The more we talk and see disability, the easier it is for acceptance and tolerance of the community and society we live in.”

There’s no greater truth than the power of communication.


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