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Rebekah Marine
Rebekah Marine@rebekahmarine via Instagram

Meet the model with a bionic arm who will walk at NYFW

Is this a further sign of fashion’s shifting attitudes towards representation?

Rebekah Marine is a 28-year-old model based in New Jersey. Though she was born without a right forearm, she’s not letting that stop her. Marine, who has an i-limb quantum prosthetic hand, will walk in the FTL Moda show at New York Fashion Week – in ten days time. 

This won’t be the model’s first foray into fashion. Earlier this year Marine starred in Nordstrom’s 2015 anniversary catalogue. However, trying to forge a modelling career while suffering from a disability hasn’t been without its setbacks – she’s faced a lot of rejection. 

“Being a model with a disability has been extremely difficult over the past couple years,” she told Mashable. “Agencies often won’t even look at my portfolio. But I’ve come to realise it’s all about finding your niche. I’ve accepted that most clients may not want to work with me based on my ‘disability.’”

When it comes to the representation of disabled people in fashion, Marine’s stance is clear: “It's so important to include more diverse models, because after all, nearly one in five people in America have a disability,” Marine says. “We should be celebrating uniqueness, not conforming to what the media thinks is beautiful.”

However there are signs that progress is being made. Last month American fashion blogger Jillian Mercado, who uses a wheelchair, was signed to IMG Models, marking a significant change in fashion’s attitudes towards disability. Mercado has already landed a campaign for Diesel

As for Marine’s career aspirations, she has set her sights high. “Above all,” she says, “I hope to land on the cover of Vogue one day – that’s my personal goal. And I won’t stop until I get there.”