A 10-year-old model with cerebral palsy has revealed she’s hoping to challenge the industry to include more disabled people.
Emily Prior, from Perth, has become the face of some of children’s major fashion brands, including Target, Rock Your Baby and Betts Kids.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Emily opened up about her mission to change the perceptions of disability in the modelling industry.
‘It’s important to represent people with a disability in advertising because “it’s who we are”. We all need to be included,’ Emily told FEMAIL.
‘I would really like more big brands to include disability in their advertising. There are not enough brands including people with disability.’
The young girl has graced the pages of Australian retailer Target, including its ‘Back to School’ and ‘Latest Kids Fashion’ catalogues.
‘I was very excited to see myself on the front page because it was my dream to be in a catalogue and I was very proud of myself,’ Emily said.
‘I got sent lots of messages from people who loved seeing me in the catalogue.’
Her career started from the tender age of eight when she asked her mother Jenny, 42, while flicking through a catalogue: ‘Why are none of the models in here like me?’
‘When she asked this question, I began to understand the significant effect it was having on her self-esteem, her sense of belonging and identity and it meant that I couldn’t sit back and do nothing,’ Ms Prior told Daily Mail Australia.
‘The fact that at eight years of age, Emily was perceptive enough to recognise the exclusionary messages in advertising, that people with disabilities were being excluded from mainstream media and advertising, was devastating.
‘I’m ashamed to say that it hadn’t occurred to me how carefully she had been paying attention to media and advertising.
‘The influence it has over society is not always used to benefit society, especially in relation to disability. The media can add to the discrimination by continuing to reinforce disability stereotypes or by not including disability at all.’
‘I am trying to make a difference, to make sure that people with disabilities are seen in advertising and that everyone is being included,’ she said.
‘I like that people can see what my disability looks like and maybe learn something about cerebral palsy.
‘I am very proud because it means that lots of people can learn about my disability and they can also see how to include disability.’
After showing interest in modelling, the family got in touch with Starting with Julius -an organisation committed to the equal representation of people with disability in advertising and media. Find out more about them here.
We have shared before on MoM how Kmart and Target made us VERY proud by leading the way in Australia on diversity in advertising by including models with disability in both their catalogues and TV advertisements.
Find more on that below…
- Something you may have missed about latest Target and Kmart catalogues
- Why we are so proud of Target Australia for its newest “Cover Girl”
- Kmart is doing what other retailers SHOULD do with their catalogues
- Mum fights back after her son was rejected from a clothing ad