Debbie van der Putten gives us an insight into her life as a fashion model with a difference.
Have you seen any change in the way the fashion industry represents and caters for people with disabilities?
Not much, It has been 5 years since BBC three broadcasted “Britain’s Missing Top Model” and we’ve only seen the winner of that show in the high fashion magazines once, as part of her prize when she won. We haven’t seen much campaigns or catwalks including disability since, off course around the Paralympics disability was hot, but as quick as the games disappeared disability in advertising disappeared! Thank god there are amazing fashion diversity campaigns like “All walks beyond the catwalk” www.alkwalks.org and my own campaign IMperfect here to promote diversity in fashion.
Also I’ve been talking to loads off fashion students lately and they are very open minded, as they are the future I’m convinced the change is going on. Also I have an amazing agent Ben Barry that is specialized in diverse models think many other agents could learn from him!
What do you believe is the reason for the mostly one-dimensional models showcasing fashion?
I think the reason of lack on diversity in fashion is the fear of difference; they have been using the same body type for years now and its scary to change a “winning” concept. Also sample size are made on certain body types / sizes even if a casting director would like to cast plus size or petit models it would be very challenging to get them fitted
What is the most common reaction you receive at fashion events?
People don’t expect disability in fashion so sometimes its a bit shocking but everyone agrees that it is part of day to day life so they agree on the fact we should see more disability in fashion, advertising and beauty
What is your life motto?
You live, you learn…
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully I still get to model a little bit and travel the world, I think my boyfriend and me will live together in the UK and might have a little family! I’ll always be fighting for more diversity in fashion, its my passion and don’t think I’ll ever give up on that but having my own family is something I’ve always wanted so that has priority!
Please share three unusual/interesting facts about yourself.
I love shit looking tattoo’s I have cherry’s, a cupcake, a bow and Disney lettering on my body all very random but very me! I always read magazines from the back to the front, don’t why I do that but its just a random habit.
You come across as very confident. Have you always been this confident?
I think I’m very good in trying to look confident but underneath that all is a sometimes very insecure girl! Every time I have castings or a big shoot I get very nervous and friends and family have to big me up. Over the years it got a little better. When it comes to my disability I am totally confident, its something that happens and I can’t do nothing about it. I never had any prosthetic and will never use them as it doesn’t feel like me. It makes me feel very disabled while I’m able to do anything I want without!
What do you love most about yourself?
I think the thing I like the most about myself is that I’m a people pleaser I want everyone to be as happy as I am and I love to help other people, I’m a big believer that everything you give, will pay back in happiness. As long everyone around me is happy I’m happy!