If you’re still proud you won the Year 8 award for long jump, a Paralympian has put you to shame.
Samanta Bullock finally achieved her dream of appearing in London Fashion Week after being told wheelchair users couldn’t model.
The 39-year-old from London always longed to walk the catwalk but cast aside her modelling ambitions after frequent rejections because she couldn’t walk.
When Bullock was fourteen, she accidentally shot herself with her father’s shotgun, severing her spinal cord as well as damaging her liver and pancreas.
‘I was so panicked, thinking I was going to die,’ said Samanta. ‘I was told that I would never walk again.
‘I didn’t mind being disabled but I cared about not being able to go down the catwalk anymore, London Fashion week was always a dream of mine and it felt shattered.
‘I didn’t think I could model because I was in a wheelchair, it was a traumatic thing for me because I was a professional model before and then couldn’t do it.’
After years of rehabilitation and physiotherapy, she regained the ability to perform activities including sitting up and moving from a chair to a bed.
‘I had to learn to adapt life around my disability, it took time to get used to and still to this day requires a lot of planning,’ she explains.
Samanta then became the best wheelchair tennis player in Brazil, competing internationally.
But her modelling dreams were finally answered when she became an ambassador for charity Models of Diversity and paraded down the catwalk of London Fashion Week, fulfilling the goal she clung to for over three decades.
‘When someone tells me that I can’t do something it makes me want to prove them wrong and makes me stronger, this especially was relevant for modelling,’ she said.
‘I wanted to remember every breath and second of my time on the catwalk, I took in all the feelings and sensations they were all special.
‘Being part of LFW was truly a dream come true, over the past years I’ve been working hard in order to be recognized as a model of diversity and participate in such a great event like that.’
Although she says people in wheelchairs were featured in New York Fashion Weeks, progress needs to be made so it becomes a ‘normal thing’.
A handy reminder to never let anything get in your way.