This week, we introduced our new series where we profile some of our amazing brand reps. Today, you’re in for a treat because we’ve got the lowdown on Designer Kidz ambassador and one of the most inspiring girls we know, Emily Prior. At just 10 Emily has achieved more than most people achieve in a lifetime. Emily has Cerebral Palsy (a disability which affects her ability to move), but that hasn’t stopped her from chasing her dreams of becoming a model. In fact, it’s made her more determined to ensure people with disabilities are represented in mainstream media.
Emily’s tenacity and talent have seen her become the face of a West Australian Charity Fundraiser, grace the cover of Real People magazine in the UK, appear in countless fashion campaigns and TV and magazine interviews and become the ambassador for 10+ different fashion brands (including Designer Kidz.) And she’s only just getting started! Here, we find out a little more about Emily, including what it’s really like to be a model.
DK: What made you decide to get into modelling?
“When I was 8, I noticed that there were no models with disabilities in fashion catalogues. It made me feel excluded and I didn’t understand why they weren’t included. My mum asked me if I wanted to change that and I said ‘yes.’ It’s important to represent people with a disability in advertising, as everyone should be included.”
DK: What are some of the coolest experiences you’ve had since you started modelling?
‘I’ve had the chance to fly from our home in Perth to Melbourne and Sydney for modelling work, which was definitely very cool (once I even got to fly business class!) I have also done lots of TV interviews (getting to be on TV is definitely one of the coolest experiences), I have done a radio ad and recently, I filmed a series with ABCMe, which will be on TV in October.
It’s also really cool to walk into a shop and see yourself on a poster, or on the front of a catalogue. Getting lots of messages of support and encouragement from people (some who I don’t know) who are really excited to see me in catalogues also makes me feel very proud. I am trying to make a difference, to make sure that people with disabilities are seen in advertising. I like that people can see what my disability looks like and maybe learn something about Cerebral Palsy.”
DK: What are your favourite hobbies when you’re not modelling?
“I do singing lessons with Music Rocks Australia, which I love. I also like to watch my brother play football, play with my friends and do art and crafts.”
DK: Have you ever encountered any bullying or discrimination as a result of your disability and how did you deal with that?
“Sometimes (mainly other kids) ask me, “Why do you walk funny?” or “What are those things on your legs? This doesn’t always mean they’re being a bully, sometimes they just want to know but don’t know how to ask nicely. I just tell them 'I walk this way because my muscles in my legs work differently' or, 'I have cerebral palsy and these things are called AFO’s and they just help me to walk better.'
I haven’t really been bullied about my disability but recently I had some boys be really mean about my size (I’m little) and that did upset me. My mum always tells me 'It says a lot about a person who bullies someone with a disability.' Sometimes, other kids (who don’t know me) tell me ‘You can’t play with us because you can’t play....basketball (for example).’ I don’t like it when people assume I can’t do something just because I have a disability. I normally tell them ‘I can do it but I just need to do it differently to you, can’t we find a way that lets me play too?’ I hate being excluded. So I just keep showing people how disability CAN be included.”
Emily wearing the Lulu Floral Dress in white
DK: Who are your top 3 role models?
1. Jilly Mercado
“She is the coolest model with a disability. I would love to be as successful as she is.”
2. Robyn Lambird
“Robyn is my mentor and she has Cerebral Palsy like me. She is like a big sister and she helps me with lots of things. It is really good to be able to talk to someone who has a disability just like me.”
3. Matt Fuller
“Matt is my hero. Every year for Telethon (a charity that I was a Little Telethon Star for in 2014) Matt exercises for 24 hours NON STOP for the children of Western Australia. Even when his body is hurting, he keeps going and never gives up. He raises tens of thousands of dollars each year.”
DK: What are your goals for the future?
“I would like to continue modelling and I would also like to become an actor, because I think that people with disabilities should be acting the roles of people with disabilities on TV and in movies.
I would also really like to work with animals too, maybe as a vet nurse or with animals that have been rescued.”
DK: What are some of your favourite pieces from the Designer Kidz range?
“There are so many things I love! My wardrobe has quite a few Designer Kidz dresses, they are so pretty. My favourite is probably the Kimberley Lace Tutu dress in navy. I also love the accessories, especially the Pom Pom hair ties.”