Fashion Week

Meet the NYFW model with a bionic arm

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Anna Pollitt
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Rebekah Marine was told that she'd never be a model because she was born without a right forearm - now she's set to hit the runway at New York Fashion Week. 

The 28-year-old, who describes herself as a “bionic model” made her NYFW debut for FTL Moda in February and will walk for the designers again on September 13.

She had her high-tech prosthetic hand fitted six years ago and credits the cutting-edge technology with giving her the confidence to pursue a modelling career.

February's NYFW shows were defined by disability diversity firsts, including a model with Down's syndrome and a runway star with the skin condition vitiligo.

Thankfully, this increasingly inclusive attitude appears to be more than a passing trend.

Madeline Stuart, an 18-year-old model with Down's syndrome, will appear at NYFW this month, while modelling agency IMG recently announced that it has signed Jillian Mercado, a 28-year-old American model with spastic muscular dystrophy.

Marine told Mashable: “It's so important to include more diverse models, because after all, nearly one in five people in America have a disability. We should be celebrating uniqueness, not conforming to what the media thinks is beautiful.”

While her career has blossomed since her first booking on a bridal photo shoot, she says that most agencies still “won't even look at her portfolio”.

Hopefully that will change if the fashion industry continues to embrace disability.

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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant.