Meet the world’s first pro model in a wheelchair
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