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
This original, five-part series is made by Love Productions for BBC
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
Ouch will provide a forum for debate about the
many issues raised by the series, as well as exclusive video clips
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
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.