Angel with 'raisins' for Victoria's Secret. Destruction of stereotypes

I would like to introduce to Readers of Kulturalne Rozmowy website The Angel of Wales – a fashion model, MA of the Belarusian State Academy of Arts. And what is more, she has Polish roots. This unusual person is a person with a disability. We are talking about her career, acceptance, differences and her own challenges. I hope you enjoy reading. 

Who is the Angel of Wales?

Angel of Wales: Angel of Wales is the person, personality, individuality. Person: I accustom society that you need to see not a diagnosis (cerebral palsy) in me, and the person in the first place. We (I mean the post-Soviet space) look at the diagnosis, not the person. And, on this basis, often take a negative decision in relation to a person with a disability. Personality: I can boldly express my opinions, even if it does not coincide with the generally accepted opinion. I respect the human dignity and I want to respect mine. Individuality: I graduated from the Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts in 2014. This year, I entered the magistracy of the Belarusian State Academy of Arts. I will deal with professional theater.

Why have you chosen to study this kind of profession?

I like theater. I attract to another reality. Theater teaches me to live.

You are a person with a disability. Why did you decide to become a fashion model?

I prefer to call myself a person with different possibilities. The word «disability» carries a heavy meaning. Make life easier, you need to use words with a slight sense. For example, not cerebral palsy, but a way of life; not a disease, but «raisin» ; not a disability, but differences. If you're going to call yourself an invalid, and it will stay until the end of life like an invalid. If you say that you are sick, you will always get sick. My physical features, I consider not as a disease, but as different from other people. I am not a person with limited possibilities. If a society recognizes people with limited possibilities, it should be recognized the presence of people with unlimited possibilities. But this is unrealistic. There are no people with unlimited possibilities. The Lord God has unlimited possibilities only! Life stories of many people with disabilities show that these people physically and mentally much stronger than the usual "healthy" people (such as Stephen Hawking, Nick Vujcic). So I am the person with different possibilities. I dreamed to become an actress and model always. As a child, I imagined my photo on the cover of fashion magazines and hoped that one day I will come to success. As an actress, I shot, in an artistic series "The snow whirls ..." in 2013 (directed by V. Tumaev, Russia). As a model, I am more successful. I take part in advertising campaigns businesses removed for magazines and creative projects, I released a video in my underwear in the image of Victoria's Secret, I appeared on the runway at Fashion Week in Moscow in 2014. I always wanted to escape from the heavy monotony of everyday life, I wanted to get away from poverty and despair. And I did it, but my fees are very small. The world of glamour and fashion, luxury and beauty attracted me. Fashion for me this is a departure from the terrible reality. When I became a model, my life has changed a lot. It has become a colorful and joyful. I'm happy!

Are you going on the runway or you are a photo model? What kind of modelling do you prefer?

I work as a podium model and as a photo model. I'm interested in everything. Podium is a powerful and dynamic experience. I left a very strong impression on the fashion week in Moscow in 2014. As a model, I presented a collection of clothing Russian designer Oksana Liventsova. I really want to still take part in some Fashion Week, for example, in New York, Milan and London. I like work for camera also. Because it is possible to show a story, drama, image and feel like an actress.

With whom are you working now?

Now I am taking part in the shooting for a leading glossy magazine Belarus, which is called the "Great". It will accommodate interviews and photos with me. At the same time take part in the large Belarusian project inclusion, for which I am co-starred in the movie. Another parallel to take part in a creative project "Inspired by you", which takes place in Moscow. I became the face of this project. Photographs are trendy Moscow photographer Marat Muhonkin. Also, now I am in correspondence with FTL Moda, Models of Disability, Global Diversity Inclusion. These organizations are interested in the models with disabilities. Maybe with their help, I will take part in fashion shows and photo shoots in New York or Milan. I hope so.

I wish you that. And how about your family?

My family: my mother, her husband and my grandmother. We all live together, support, care and respect each other. My own people understand and help me in everything. My great success is also to their credit. I am a descendant of Polish birth Korzeniowski and Szymanski. My last name Waleskaya has British roots.

What is your most important success?

I think that's way out on the podium in Moscow and shooting in my underwear in the image of Victoria's Secret. It was here that I liberated and got rid of the psychological barriers and stereotypes. I'm a fresh look at my body and saw its beauty. The residents call my awkward gait. But if the awkwardness is nice, it becomes a particular facet of beauty. It is the grace of other movements. You know, the designer brand «Comme des garcons» creates the illusion of a distorted body, put in the artificial humps and additional hands in their models. My body is not an illusion. It is natural and beautiful.

How would you define beauty?

Beauty is not beautiful, imperfection is a sign of real life. Beauty inside, everything else is nonsense! It defies rational perception, it should feel.

What do you think when you look at yourself in the mirror?

I can do everything!

What is your goal in life?

I want to be a professional and popular model. I want to create a fashion theater and drama. I want to become a beloved wife and best mom to two kids.

Have you ever met with negative opinion, reaction because of your disability? How do you deal with these difficult situations?

I met with a negative opinion and the negative reaction to me. On the negative answer I smile and tranquility. If I swear, it was a conflict. Why complicate life and spoil your health. A person will understand me only when he will be in a difficult situation or sit in a wheelchair. I can say only one thing: everyone can become disabled.

Could you give Polish fashion models with disabilities any advice?

Be bold. You must not affect the psychological barriers and stereotypes. Dream, go to its target. You are sure to succeed if you are patient and consistent. Tell a story through the eyes and body. Such models are now of interest to designers.

What kind of wishes do you like to hear?

Wish me luck, love and success. I recommend my short video: Fashion Model with cerebral palsy. Destruction of stereotypes.

Thank you for your time.


You can also read polish version here

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