The debate about Britain's Missing Top model continues to rage even after the winner was announced as Kelly Knox. The main issues getting people wound up seem to be the type of disability and confusion over whether the winner should be a role model and spokesperson or model first and foremost.
My experience of modelling was actually directly related to becoming disabled. After I returned from the USA nursing the first of many failed shoulder surgeries and years before I would be diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome I found myself in the position of being unable to work full time but desperate not to claim benefits and so add to my then status as lazy malingerer. I worked a variety of part time jobs over the years but all were incredibly poorly paid and when people suggested I work as a glamour model to earn some extra cash I eventually decided there was no reason why I shouldn't.
It was also years before I recognised myself as having a disability which leads me to wonder whether some of the problems relating to the acceptance of disability in the modelling industry have more to do with the label than anything else. As I didn't recognise myself as disabled I never used the label when talking to photographers but I did always explain not only the problems I had with my shoulder but that I tired easily and was in constant pain. It wasn't an issue for any photographer I worked with, but I suspect most of them would have shied away had I declared myself as 'disabled' despite there being no difference in the issues created.
I didn't think of it as needing adaptations, there were just positions I could hold, and those I couldn't. It was always something worked around by myself and the photographer, my yet to be labelled hypermobility compensating by providing an ability to move into more poses than it prevented.
Glamour modelling was never a career for me, in my mid 20's by the time I started it was simply an easy way on occasion of earning a bit of extra cash for myself that fitted in with the random nature of NHS appointments. The experience of learning to ask for and accept assistance for personal care meant I rapidly lost any self consciousness I might once have had about my body after years of being bullied for my appearance and gave me the confidence I needed to model nude.