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Meet the aspiring model defying her disability

DETERMINED: Ellie Miller

DIVERSITY IN the fashion industry is an age old debate that only now seems to be gaining traction.

In a time where models of colour, different genders and disabilities were disproportionately represented, we’re now beginning to see a shift in representation and celebrating diversity within fashion and beauty.

One young model who is keen to build her career and not be defined by her condition is Ellie Miller. Miller, who has Incontinentia Pigmenti - a genetic condition passed down from her mother which affects teeth, eyes and skin - has always had a desire to model despite her initial introverted nature.

“Growing up was tough because I was often socially excluded. For other people, it never seemed ‘cool’ to hang around with the disabled child so I was left on my own a lot,” she recalls. “I became an easy target for bullies because I was always on my own and had no one to defend me.”

However, as time went on, the aspiring model developed a core group of friends, saying: “When I was 14 years old, I made a few friends and although we were a small group they always defended me and the bullying subsided.”


MODEL BEHAVIOUR: Ellie Miller

While her group of friends changed over time, she found her confidence and desire to model increase over the years. Miller now studies hair, media and makeup at college and works closely with the modelling agency Models of Diversity.

“I always dreamed of becoming a model but as soon as my disability is mentioned, I’m told there is no work available for me,” she reveals. “Then I came across Models of Diversity who have given me a platform and most importantly a voice and the confidence to say I can do it instead of always saying I can’t.”

Models of Diversity pride themselves of bringing representation to models across different races, genders and disabilities and holding the fashion industry accountable for their lack of inclusion. “I would love to see the fashion industry be far more diverse in the models that they use - people come in all colours, shapes and sizes so why isn’t this portrayed in the industry?,” asks Miller.

“I really hope that this isn’t too far in the future and hopefully once one big organisation embraces diversity then others will follow.”

“My goals for the future are to have my name recognised in the fashion industry as a positive role model and to have a successful career. I would love to push the message of diversity as often as I can and to be able to be part of a team that sees challenges the industry’s norms.”

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