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BBC Three announces Britain's first television modelling competition for disabled women

Britain's Missing Top Model (working title) is a ground-breaking new BBC Three series, in which eight women with disabilities compete over the course of three weeks to prove to a panel of industry experts that they have what it takes to be a mainstream fashion model.


Controller of BBC Three, Danny Cohen, says: "This series aims to challenge the artificial boundaries that seem to exist in the beauty and fashion industries.


"It would be great if, in the future, we began to see more disabled models gracing the covers of the world's magazines."


This original, five-part series is made by Love Productions for BBC Three.


Women aged between 18 and 30, who consider themselves to have a disability and believe they have what it takes to work in the mainstream modelling industry, are invited to apply (


Eight women will be chosen to move into an apartment in London, where they will eat, sleep and breathe the fashion industry over a three-week period.


Three industry experts will train them in every aspect of modelling – from posing for photo shoots to location work and catwalks.


During the intensive training period they will be set challenges by the expert judges to see if they have what it takes to become a model. If they impress the judges in these challenges, the girls will be allowed to continue in the competition.


Ultimately, the judges will select one winner and her prize is a high-fashion photo shoot with one of the world's foremost fashion photographers – to feature in a spread in a top women's glossy magazine.


With this training and experience, the aspiration is to give the winner a foot in the door of the fashion industry.


Richard McKerrow, Creative Director, Love Productions, says: "Our intention is to empower both the women featured in the project and thousands of others, who shouldn't be invisible to the fashion industry just because they are Disabled people.


"We're also looking to challenge preconceived notions of beauty."


The series will be supported by Ouch, the BBC's award-winning disability website.

Ouch will provide a forum for debate about the many issues raised by the series, as well as exclusive video clips and blogs.


The site will also host a campaign run by BBC Learning that will bring the rarely-discussed topic of disability within the beauty and fashion industry into the spotlight, and challenge the audience's understanding of what it means to be a disabled person.


Disability Action, in Islington, says: "Any programme which raises awareness of the barriers that society places in the path of disabled people wanting to pursue their chosen career, that has the ability to challenge negative stereotypes and encourage inclusion, is a positive thing."


Notes to Editors


We are working in consultation with Capita.


There are currently only a very small number of disabled models working in mainstream modelling, including Brazilian model Brenda Costa, who is deaf. She was recently quoted talking about her career: "I'm a fighter and I think it's important for other girls to know they shouldn't give up on their dream just because they are a bit different." (Sunday Mirror).


A disabled person is defined as someone with a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Source: Disability Discrimination Act.


2.5 million people in the UK are of working age and claim Disability Living Allowance. Source: 2005 Department of Work and Pensions Statistics.


Scope states that if disabled people (who have a combined spending power of some £80b) see a disabled model, they are more likely to buy that product.


Disability Action, in Islington, (DAII) is an organisation run by and for disabled people. Registered Charity Number 1055692. DAII has provided Disability Equality Training for the production team and is acting as a sounding board for the production team throughout the production period.









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Category: Factual & Arts TV; BBC Three
Date: 05.03.2008
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