A modelling agency shooting a campaign featuring models in bathing suits is a common occurrence in the fashion industry, but Zebedee Management’s #EverybodyBeautiful campaign stands out from the crowd.
All their models have disabilities – and wear them with pride.
The #EverybodyBeautiful campaign aims to uplift and empower not only the models, actors and performers represented, but also others who have disabilities.
Laura Johnson told HuffPost UK the reason she co-founded the agency with Zoe Proctor, was because they felt “people with disabilities were not being fairly represented in the media.”
“We found that there were few agencies who could offer a specialist service to people with disabilities,” she explained.
As well as both having experience in the modeling industry, Johnson is a qualified social worker, while Procter is a performing arts teacher for people with learning disabilities.
Where diversity in fashion is concerned, Johnson believes the industry still has a long way to go.
“The media has come on leaps and bounds in terms of being more representative of a diverse society,” she said. “But disability seems to be the last taboo.”
Their specialist agency is working to tackle a misrepresentation by showing that models with disabilities can work in TV, media and fashion, as well as any able-bodied models.
They hope this will generate greater understanding and acceptance of those with disabilities.
Johnson continued: “We believe that people with disabilities should have the same opportunities as anyone else and want it to be the norm that they are visible in advertising, TV and film.”
Nancy Harris, one of the models who took part in the shoot, felt empowered by the experience.
“I have never felt as body confident walking around in my bikini at my age,” she said. “It’s down to Zebedee for believing in us all, thank you.”
The father of a one of the models, Mick Swales, also expressed his gratitude: “Team Zebedee have created an agency where you are valued, accepted for who you are and given the chance to shine.”