I have achondroplasia, which means my dream of becoming a model would never be – or would it? I was born at the tail end of the flower power 60’s but raised in the 70’s on a diet of the mini skirt, bell bottoms and the androgynous hippie look; all these trends totally inaccessible to someone like me. Why? Well, I’m 4 feet 1. Knee height to a grass hopper with inherited legs that unfortunately did not lead to heaven.

Most of the Glam Rock years consisted mainly of glitter, which I gave a wide berth. That was until I clapped eyes on David Bowie sporting platform soled boots! That was it, they’d add an extra couple of inches, and I was sold. Following Glam Rock was the New Romantic look, which was totally my bag! I spent most of my teens with admiration-frustration and lots of what ifs – ‘yeah, what if I was a model?’ Unperturbed by what life dealt me; I used my weekly pocket money to accept delivery of my fave fashion mags Cosmopolitan, and the like.

Extraordinary tall women walking in symmetrical lines down a never-ending catwalk draped in the most beautiful Haute Couture clothes – was my idea of heaven.  Jerry Hall, Beverly Johnson, Janice Dickson, and then later Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Tara Banks, who I deeply admired, but all fell short of my interpretation of representation. These women were the only role models I could access. I would sit flicking through the pages of my subscribed magazine, only stopping if a certain embroidery or sequin popped off the page, my one and only time to escape the reality of life and indulge in luxury high-end designs. Albeit on an income of £1.50 per week, I could be here a while before one of these aspirations would be mine.

I once turned up at a modelling agency full prepared to be hired. I piqued the attention of every single person in the waiting room. I strutted into the interview like a ball of inferno and rightly took my seat which had the invisible print, ‘HIRED’.  I learned moments later it wasn’t to be – my 124. 46 cm frame let me down. I quickly turned on my heels and left. What a rude awakening! I stopped fawning over what came down the runway, I cared less.  I sought a life in the real world; which turned out to be way more daunting. My aspirations to become a model were diminished.


Mary Russell in a photoshoot with another  model


All until 2014!  All rise – Models Of Diversity & The International Dwarf Fashion Show. Not only have I achieved my dream of modelling, but I’m also trying my hand at fashion and design, and I love it! (Present tense since you’re still studying) Never think your dream is too big, even if your dream is bigger than yourself! I will be debuting my signature dress in next month’s vlog.

About The Author

I'm mother to Reece my 18 yr old son. Do you reach for the dictionary when you hear the word Achondroplasia? Most do... in Laymans terms it's short for 'dwarfism'. My condition is the the butt of many a jokes, so if you want to continue, calling me the 'M' word by all means do...but I promise you will hear a bunch of profanities from me. I want to get involved with Liability Magazine to challenge myself by providing monthly updates on my sewing/ designing quest. The highs and lows...And just damn right showing off!

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