Shaholly Ayers is a model, but she is also an amputee. Regardless, she chased her dreams, not letting this hold her back.
We adore models so much that it has become a culture for us. Whether they are on the page of a magazine or on our television screens, it's always a beautiful thing to see people at the height of their physical condition. But there are also a lot of negatives that come with this industry as models project impractical body standards.
The "body positivity" movement is becoming increasingly popular. People have been pushing the modeling industry to represent other body types, however, it's still centered predominantly on the 'thin' body type. There are so many other body types which the modeling industry fails to represent, including body types with disabilities.
People that have disabilities are largely underrepresented. Contrary to popular belief, this does not imply that star talent does not exist amongst the disabled. An example of such talent is amputee model, Shaholly Ayers. She is definitely not allowing her disability to stop her from going after her dream. If you want to know more about her then keep reading.
At birth, Shaholly Ayers didn't have a complete arm - she was short everything below the elbow. Because of this, she has had a lot of disadvantages, mostly created by others. For instance, she was told to stay away from many physical activities like joining a gym class or a basketball team. It isn't hard to guess how these same people reacted to Shaholly's dream of being a model.
In an interview with TODAY Style, Shaholly Ayers talked about how much discouragement she got from her agents at the beginning of her career. They used to say things like "There's no way you're going to be a model because you don't have two arms."
She would try to explain how she could wear her prosthesis, selling the idea but it didn't matter what she said to them. Luckily, Shaholly wasn't going to give up.
If not for Shaholly's resilient spirit, she would've given up a decade ago after having this conversation with her agent. But, like every normal human, she still had her doubts.
After that agent said this to her, she walked back home feeling angry and upset but once she got home she realized how many times in her life that she had been told 'no' and that her agent just didn't know how to help her. So she took the decision to take control of her own career.
The only problem was that her portfolio was completely empty, but she found work with a few photographers and make-up artists and built it up gradually.
She went as far as going physically to stores and boutiques offering her services and according to her, it really worked. Over the course of ten years, Ayers has built herself a successful career in modeling.
We can only guess how many people are eating crow now - surely, all her agents from 10 years ago are. Shaholly Ayers is now a runway veteran as she has walked New York Fashion Week for six seasons now. You must be wondering if she wears a prosthetic to model or not.
Shaholly mentioned in her interview that whether or not she wears it is dependent on the photoshoot. She says she is comfortable with or without the prosthesis and that the directors are understanding. They try to stay as true as possible, asking if she would wear the prosthesis with that particular outfit or not.
Once her career began to take off, so many people with conditions similar to hers came up to her to show support. She was surprised at the number of parents and amputees that came to her, telling her how excited they were to finally have someone out there representing them.