My experience of being a disabled model on BBC Three's Glow Up

I had the amazing opportunity to be a model on BBC Three's Glow Up, where this was my first time filming for a TV Show as a disabled model - it was surreal and such a great experience.



My crutches made a small appearance in the episode and you'll see them if you look hard enough lol. This was a huge deal for me because when I first started using crutches, I felt self-conscious mainly because having a mobility aid was seen as something negative, but I think now is the time to start challenging people’s perceptions. Life doesn't stop when you're disabled and using a mobility aid doesn't make you less of a person or a model in this instance.


"What sets you apart can sometimes feel like a burden and it's not. A lot of the time, it's what makes you great."


I’ve always loved watching these types of TV shows with my mum and I’m grateful that I’ve been given this opportunity to show people that you can do anything you put your mind to despite your differences which really means a lot to me. If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be to never limit yourself and to always expand your horizons – 10 year old Caprice-Kwai would be proud!



My call time to be on set was 7am where a taxi was sent for all the models which was a first for me and something I could definitely get used to! I usually have to navigate how I would get to a job, which is tricky when you’re disabled as you have to take into account a lot of things like leaving enough time to get to a venue, looking for accessible routes and disabled parking spots etc, but the fact that the production team made sure travel was taken care of was amazing and took some stress off of my shoulders as I didn't have to worry about that part.


When I arrived at the studio, I was quite nervous which wasn’t a new feeling for me because I never know what to expect on jobs which is the exciting part too. Myself and a few other models were greeted by a member of the production team and we were taken to another room where we were able to have breakfast and chill out before being called to set later on.


Accessibility of the building was not really suitable for wheelchair users so I’m thankful I was using my crutches that day. Venue's are not always 100% accessible for disabled people on some of the jobs that I have been on in the past. I've had to get changed in unacceptable places and I'm always faced with an inaccessible building of some sort so filming for Glow Up wasn't any different unfortunately. However, the team were incredibly accommodating with accompanying me down a few stairs and using the lift throughout the day.


There were a few times that the models were called to set to make sure everything ran smoothly before filming took place which although was tiring made me feel at ease because I knew what to expect beforehand. Being able to see the set beforehand made me aware of the area I would be entering, the steps I had to go down to enter the studio and testing out the chair I would be sitting on to ensure that it was comfortable for the time that I would be sitting down for. To my surprise, the chairs were quite high and not the most comfortable for someone with Osteoarthritis, but I was given a pillow to sit on to make me and my legs feel more comfortable.


Later on in the day when filming commenced, all the models were called to set where the MUA’s had two and a half hours to complete their looks which had to be inspired by an Icon of their choice. I was chosen by Brandon as he won the last challenge which was a huge shock for me as I spent most of the day admiring how beautiful the other models were, so I was honoured to be chosen by him as this made me feel good about myself and boosted my confidence.



Brandon's chosen Icon was Grace Jones, he said "Her bold, expressive and strong personality resonates with me. The iconic Grace Jones herself is known for unapologetic behaviour and some interesting looks that have showcased her personality continuously, with this being said it is evident that she is not afraid to standout from the crowd and break boundaries" - @beautybybrandong


The meaning behind Brandon's look resonated greatly with me too - standing out from the crowd and breaking boundaries is something that I want to achieve as a disabled model. I think it's so important to break away from the "norm" which many people are afraid of doing. I want people to see themselves being represented across all aspects in the industry which I feel is important for the younger generation and is one of the reasons why I started modelling.


I was recently told that I have inspired someone to pursue their modelling career as a disabled person which made me feel very happy! You should be able to go for anything you put your mind to without feeling like you shouldn't because you feel you don't "fit" in or you feel you can't because you happen to use a mobility aid or have a disability.


"I believe in individuality, that everybody is special and it's up to them to find that quality and let live" - Grace Jones



As you can imagine sitting for two and a half hours was very painful for me, my leg was in constant pain and after a while I started feeling tired, although the team tried to make sure I was comfortable, I was having a great time which at times took my mind off of the pain. Before I knew it the MUA's were being told to put down their brushes then all the models were taken to the next room to have their final looks photographed. All in all, it was a great experience that I'd love to do again in the future.


In terms of my pain after being up and down for most of the day and sitting for a few hours, I was feeling extremely fatigued and ready to rest immediately after filming finished. It usually takes me a good few days to recover after any job that I've been blessed to do, but like I've said in the past... It's always worth it!


I was so anxious to watch the episode I was featured in as I wasn't sure how they were going to edit the episode, but it actually felt so good watching it knowing that I was apart of the show and was able to accomplish that nine months into my modelling career - so anything is possible!


If you would like to watch the episode that I have been featured in the link is here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p0720g1m/glow-up-britains-next-makeup-star-series-1-episode-2.


There are many low moments when you have a disability, but being booked to be a model on a show like Glow Up and seeing the images of myself in the "Grace Jones" inspired look just reminds me that I have strength, power and I am capable of great things despite my differences. This is something that I keep reminding myself and hope to show others that may be a little different than the rest - you're capable of amazing things!


"Be crazy enough to know you can do anything in life."



Caprice-Kwai Xx



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