This is just the best story. Seven-year old Daisy-May Demetre from Birmingham, who had both of her legs amputated when she was only 18 months old following a birth defect, has been chosen as the face of River Island's new Active Girlswear range. Daisy-May is signed with Zebedee Management, a modelling agency which works with disabled models and celebrates diversity. Social media users have applauded the news, which signals a new era of advertising as designers seek to be more inclusive with the models they select for their campaigns.
Daisy-May is a beautiful, sporty little girl who adores gymnastics and writes on her own Instagram status how she's 'loving life'. Her selection by River Island is such a leap forward for the modelling world.
Daisy-May modelling for River Island
A River Island spokesperson told HELLO!: "We cast our models based on who best fits the brief for the specific activity. For the new RI ACTIVE range for girlswear, we required a model who has lots of energy and who looked great in active wear. Daisy-May Demetree fitted this brief perfectly. As well, as having a great, outgoing personality, Daisy-May has a genuine love of all sports."
There was much excitement on River Island's Instagram page, with one fan writing: "Inclusion is the new normal!!" Another follower posted: "This is amazing. I would have loved to see more depictions of disability while I was growing up. Thank you @riverisland #inclusion." One Insta user said: "This is amazing! Well done @riverisland made me smile!"
Zebedee Director Zoe Proctor said: "We met Daisy in October 2017, she came into the studio looking very timid and quite shy, we know its daunting for children to turn up casting shoots when they have no idea what to expect. Once Daisy realised the team were really nice and it was a calm, fun and chilled out atmosphere Daisy started to relax and we knew then she had the potential to do really well.
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"She has since worked for some of the biggest children's fashion names in the UK and we are currently in talks with some international labels for her. She is a wonderful example to us all that no matter what life throws your way we can choose to make the best of it, that life is fragile and can be short, so live every day the best you can and take a few chances in life because you just don't know where it will lead."
Daisy's dad Alex Demetre said: "I had a day off work and by chance Zebedee Management was on This Morning the TV program. When Daisy came back from school I put the idea to her do you want to be a model of course she said yes. At that moment I made her a promise that I would help her be the best model she could possibly be, and told her that I will get her in the high street shops pictures, everywhere, exactly what we are achieving right now. So we sent some photos to Zebedee Management and the dream started."
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Daisy's father also revealed that his daughter has inspired him in his own life. Following the operations on her legs as a baby, he reveals he turned to alcohol and gambling but watching her fight back has helped him quit his addictions. He explains: "So now we go to the gym together and train and use that to help other people who may need it. It's our personal journey to do this together."