Debenhams First To Cast Disabled Model

03 September 2010

Today Debenhams became the first high street store to feature a disabled model in their window campaign. The model in question is Shannon Murray, who’s been in a wheelchair since she broke her neck aged 14.

‘As I was getting ready in hair and make-up,’ said Shannon, ‘The potential of this shoot suddenly struck me - another small step towards inclusion and representation.’

Whilst some have said ‘what took them so long’, others have branded the campaign as a publicity stunt. It comes on the back of other headline-grabbing campaigns, including anti-airbrushing and plus-sized model shoots.

‘Is this finally an acceptance of disabled people? Or another kick in the teeth?’ wrote one blogger. ‘Good for her,’ wrote another, ‘But I don't like it when companies announce it and hold themselves up as paragons of acceptance. Perhaps it's just me being cynical, but I believe that this world will only be truly tolerant when stuff like this can happen and we don't have to report it.

Whatever your take, we think Shannon looks great - though she’s reluctant to be put on a pedestal. ‘I’m just a woman who had an unlucky accident as a teenage girl, who was stubborn and didn’t want her life to change more than necessary,’ she wrote on her blog, ‘A girl who wanted to look pretty and fashionable just like her friends, a girl who wanted to get out of tracksuit bottoms and oversized trainers, and get rid of the metal traction on her head, the metal braces on her teeth and the restricting brace around her back!’

Progress or a publicity stunt? You tell us…


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