Daisy-May Demetre, eight years old and an avid gymnast, is going after her modeling dream on red prosthetic blades and the hope to inspire others. A starring role in a new kids’ active wear campaign for British retailer River Island indicates the girl who lost both legs at the age of 18 months is on her way.
When a pregnancy scan revealed underdeveloped fibular bones, Daisy-May’s parents realized the condition would make it hard for Daisy-May to move her legs. They ultimately decided on amputations below the knee. She regained the ability to walk, run and jump after surgery with the prosthetic blades.
River Island found her the perfect fit for its new RI ACTIVE range for girls. A company representative says the brand was looking for a model with lots of energy who looked great in active wear. With her outgoing personality and genuine love of all sports, Daisy-May checked all the boxes.
Her modeling career began in 2017 when her father submitted Daisy-May’s photos to Zebedee Management, an agency that represents models with disabilities and represents diversity. Zebedee director Zoe Proctor said, “She is a wonderful example to us all that no matter what life throws your way we can choose to make the best of it.”
Daisy-May arrived timid and shy at Zebedee last year, but Proctor saw a lot of potential once the girl relaxed. “She has since worked for some of the biggest children’s fashion names in the UK and we are currently in talks with some international labels for her,” Proctor said. Daisy-May has appeared on the runway at London Fashion Week and worked for several big retailers.
The girl from Birmingham, England often joins her dad, Alex Demetre, in working out at the gym. “My original statement, which I stick by now, is that she will be the most influential inspiring double amputee to have lived,” her father said. “The support we get through Instagram from other disabled and non-disabled people is what we are about—helping to put smiles on faces and inspire people to push and follow their dreams.”
Proctor has praised River Island’s commitment to diversity. “They genuinely care about representing diversity and differently abled models as the norm which is how every big fashion company should be,” said the Zebedee director. River Island, one of the UK’s largest retailers, last year launched the RI Kids Squad. Stars of the squad are children of mixed abilities ranging in age from two to eleven.
U.S. brands are also beginning to offer more for children with disabilities. ASOS debuted in July a rainproof jumpsuit that is wheelchair accessible. Tommy Hilfiger expanded its adaptive clothing options with its Spring 2018 campaign. The line features adjustments for people with disabilities including magnetic buttons, adjustable hems and Velcro closures. Target presented a 40-piece line for children with disabilities through its Cat & Jack children’s brand almost a year ago.
For acting and modeling tips as well as access to a diverse casting network with opportunities in a number of industries, visit castingmadesimple.com.