Meet the world’s first pro model in a wheel­chair

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Snigdha Ahuja snigdha.ahuja@htlive.com

Wear­ing cit­rus hues with a smile that lights up the room, Alexan­dra Ku­tas looks at home when we meet her in Delhi. Even with hardly any makeup on, she ra­di­ates the con­fi­dence of a mod­el­ling pro. The Ukrainian, un­able to walk since birth be­cause of a “doc­tor’s mis­take”, is a pro­fes­sional free­lance model, the first in the world to achieve this.

In­dia has given her what she sought for two years — an agency con­tract, in any country. “Most agen­cies told me the world is not ready for a model in a wheel­chair... But then, I got an of­fer from In­dia, and I here I am.” Unafraid of re­jec­tion, she is — “if the worst comes to the worst” — pre­pared to turn this so­journ into “an in­ter­est­ing jour­ney in a dif­fer­ent part of the world”. The 23-year-old has been signed up by Straw­ber­ri­fox Model Man­age­ment in Delhi.

Be­ing dis­cov­ered by a pho­tog­ra­pher in a Ukraine cafe five years ago led to her first shoot. Prov­ing scep­tics wrong, she is “do­ing this not only at home, but all over the world”. Ku­tas says, “There’s go­ing to be a day when it’s go­ing to be to­tally nor­mal for a dis­abled per­son to be a model. Fash­ion is not just about fancy clothes; it re­flects the so­ci­ety we live in. So we will evolve.”

She draws in­spi­ra­tion from dou­ble am­putee ath­lete Aimee Mullins, who made a ca­reer in fash­ion with a push from the late de­signer Alexan­der McQueen. “In In­dia,” Ku­tas says, “I hope a de­signer would want to put me on the run­way.”

I be­lieve in an old Rus­sian say­ing: ‘Ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble. The im­pos­si­ble just takes a lit­tle bit more time’

ALEXAN­DRA KU­TAS, UKRAINIAN MODEL

PHOTO: RAAJESSH KASHYAP/HT

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