How to describe myself um…quietly confident, but not so fabulous when articulating my positive and negative experiences whether in written or verbal form. I feel like I know a lot but can’t retain sh**! I hope I become more articulate over time – taking an organic approach.
You see, this thing called ADHD…takes a hold of me like seaweed to rocks. I've grappled with this since knee height to a grass hopper. It affects me, way beyond the obvious, my dwarfism. It robbed me of classroom time in my childhood, gazing out of windows.
Interesting discussions lost in transit my mind dealing with a bombardment of alien contradictions. Blank stares from my peers…pretty embarrassing! If only I could read their mind it clearly said – another planet!
So please forgive me if I am not at all clear in my rendition of ‘life before and after’ So where was I? before I was rudely interrupted. Born in West Yorkshire (north of England) very much made in London. Mary Russell or my alter ego Dwarfism Beautiful showing and celebrating everything that is beautiful about dwarfism. My partner in crime, right hand man my confidant…yes you guess it, my handsome 17 yr old son Reece. Also has dwarfism. He had little choice in his role, I raised him more or less single handed after the divorce from his father. My boy didn't always take to this role with the seriousness I desired – being a pre-besant teen why would he…I laugh.
It was during the London 2012 Paralympics that I discovered an interest for competitive sport. I never realized there was sports for people with dwarfism let alone win medals. I made enquires and soon enough my son and I were participating in entry level activities. Competing nationally wining hauls of medals between the two of us. Fast becoming a mother and son a tag team…The following year my son and I made the GB squad team. Representing our country in sports was an honor. I continued on my wining streak of success bringing home 4 World Gold Medals. An achievement at 44 yrs old.
Injury put paid to further training for Paralympic success. My dream abandoned. My hopes dashed – my motivation at ground level. Excruciating pain I endured – led to my GP administering a strong pain management regime. The medication is under the banned substance category. My GP’s words to me were, develop a career in modelling…you would make a great model! Ha ha Before I went on to model I decided to appear on a TV show about dating with a disability…she laughs.
This is how I first came to public attention. I was memorably featured in Channel 4 hit series…The Undateables series 3 episode 1. Viewers were touched by my candid struggle to find a stable, long-term relationship and by the strong emotional bond I shared with my then sixteen year-old son, Reece.
Viewers and media quickly realized my passion for fashion. They noticed my unique, flamboyant personal style. I am part of a campaign modelsofdiversity.org which campaigns to show diversity within the fashion industry. I believe I epitomise diversity in modelling. My situation is the elephant in the room. The focal point of discussions 4’1 and hell yes - a model…
I was all too aware growing up I was locked out of the mainstream fashion industry. My stature uniqueness never represented on the catwalk magazines or advertising campaigns. That said, I created my own freedom to represent myself. Never deterred by 6 ft + models. I wore my clothes with pride. I turned up at a mainstream modelling agency in the 80’s. Of course they were polite, and asked me “would I be getting a growth spurt”? Looking back how stupid of them to ask such question...but lack of awareness in those days…
For me the message is simple – YOU can strut your stuff down the catwalk. So can I. You can wear it, so can I. Albeit not in it’s current form perhaps! but with a quick nip & tuck. I will represent, nothing within my DNA suggests different and nobody will stop me representing myself in my own image. Which is Dwarfism Beautiful.
I've started to have conversations – mainly with myself she laughs…about taking the bull by the horns and venturing into fashion design & style. Put an end to media speculation do I design my own clothes? Do I style myself? Yes to all the above! I have a hidden talent that has been bursting to set free!
With my style I intend on dropping it like it's ‘HOT’…there will be plenty of drop jaw fabulousness – sophisticated elegance. Just the way Dwarfism Beautiful likes it!
The media have an insatiable appetite for me at the moment – so why not set out my platform. I want to shoot from the shoulders – not the hips! When you are a little person people are not always sure about our capabilities…so only one way to show case ourselves.
I am a stylist and fashion model – who don't give a damn!!! I ain't afraid to discuss and challenge industries regarding fashion for LP’s. Who better suited than a fashion model herself. Watch this space ya’ all Mary Russell aka Dwarfism Beautiful
Photo credit from left to right:
Pic 1 - Emma Shamaya, Pic 2 - James Alexander Lyons, Pic 3 - James Alexander Lyons, Pic 4 - Emma Shamaya, Pic 5 - modelsofdiversity.org