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Monique Jarrett Guest Blog: Self Esteem & Body Confidence

  • Posted on Jan 15, 2021

Would you ever think that somebody with a body like yours could end up on the cover of magazines, be in a national advert or even have an image of their nude body published in a book? Believe it or not it’s happened, and it’s happened to me.

Why Not Me?

Never in my wildest dreams would I ever think somebody like me would be asked to be a model, but when you really think about it why not? It’s taken me the last three years to realise our bodies may be very different to others but they are still beautiful. Then again, how would we know that when we hardly see any representation of ourselves in the media. How are our children supposed to know that their bodies are just as beautiful as anybody else’s when growing up they do not see any sort of representation of themselves in the magazines, or when their peers are admiring celebrities like gods, and the latest fashion trends they follow. They aspire to be just like them.

It was never my intention a few years back to do any of this. I was just a woman working in a school and mentoring young disabled people to live independently. I was lucky enough to have been put forward and have this opportunity, this platform to push for change and representation of beauty when it comes to having a physical and very visible disability.

How it all Started 

Believe it or not it all started from a 3AM email from my dance teacher while at the OIF Conference in Florida. I opened the email and had to triple check to make sure that my dance teacher sent it to the right person and that he really meant to put me forward to be a model with a new modelling agency in the UK that only represents people with disabilities and differences.

Within a few months I was asked to do a photo shoot in Manchester, it felt quite weird doing so when I hadn’t actually met anybody from the agency and hadn’t been signed at the time so I took it on as a test to see if they really wanted me or not. 

“Your Body is Just as Beautiful as Anybody Else’s”

Now I don’t know about you but the first thing that went through my mind when I heard photo shoot was Glitz & Glam and really pretty dresses and outfits. I’m not saying that didn’t happen on the day of the shoot, but I wasn’t too confident that my very first photo shoot was me bearing my beach bod in a room full of strangers! Yes, the first day shooting was with me in a swimsuit. I have never really felt comfortable in a swimsuit, even on the beach, so you can imagine how I must have felt that day. That was the first day I was surrounded by around twenty other disabled models of all abilities and body types that my body could be seen to be as beautiful as anybody else’s. Ever since that amazing and eye-opening day I have pushed myself to remember to make sure that everything I do in modelling puts that very statement first, “your body is just as beautiful as anybody else’s” and don’t let anybody tell you any different!

Plus, unique is the new chic, right?