Why you should care that I’m modeling

Lucy Beall Lott addresses the importance of diverse role models in the media and she explains why she believes that it is so important that she is modelling in Label's fashion show, on the 13th April.

In about two weeks, I will be modeling in Label’s fashion show in St. Andrews. I’ll walk down the runway with my friends wearing lingerie, and you will be able to see every one of my scars; the intriguing scars that photographers in Texas love and the new ones that are not as beautiful. It is one fashion show in a university town, a little over an hour long, but you should care.  

As we develop our sense of selves, we look at public figures to model ourselves on, people who we strive to look and be like. As we grow older, we look to people such as actors, actresses and, yes, models. 

 To help me prepare for this article, my friend asked me who I saw as a role model in the media, when I was a child. I couldn’t give her a real answer. I understood from a young age that I was visibly different to other girls, and that the people I saw on television looked nothing like me. Or, I didn’t look like them. I did not fit the mould of beauty, no matter how much I wanted to. This was long before there was any sort of diversity in the media or fashion was strived for, no one of different body types or with the now-vogue vitiligo.  So, I had to become extremely comfortable with my own sense of beauty, dress around my bandages and my scars and just accept that I am unconventional.  My friends with my condition had to do the same. Were we beautiful even though our conditions do not fit the traditional mould of beauty? How do we reconcile ourselves with this as a child? This is without mentioning people of other disabilities as well, those who wear prosthetics or are in wheelchairs; people of colour; or people of other sexualities.

The diversity we are beginning to be exposed to so far is wonderful; but often we as minorities can be sexualised to compensate for the fact that we are often not seen as beautiful. This is not always the case. I am wearing lingerie because I am proud of my body and what it has done and I would like others to know this as well. I am confident and pleased to be half-naked on that catwalk, and I’m sure others are as well. I am not solely wearing lingerie throughout the whole show. We all need role models and sexuality is an important factor, but it should not be the focus.  

I understand that my condition is not a thing of beauty - open wounds and blistering is hardly glamorous. But my scars are interesting, unique, and give me an appreciation for what my body has overcome. Strength is beautiful, is it not? We applaud strength and bravery; can we not find the beauty in it? 

You should care that I am modeling, because maybe one day children with my condition, and others that have a visible illness, can look at pictures and see someone that looks like them who is considered beautiful. We are not something to be hidden away - frame my scars in lace and silk, instead of hiding them, and perhaps you will see what I see. And when I walk on April 13th, may others understand what I have come to know.