Meet the disabled, gender non-conforming, teen model storming the internet

At only 17 years old, Aaron Philips is unabashed in her mission to become a supermodel, oh, and change the world.

Back in November of last year she tweeted some pictures of herself, complete with bleached hair, a nose ring and her wheelchair, declaring, “Honestly when I get scouted/discovered by a modeling agency it’s OVER for y’all! By y’all I mean the WORLD! It’s real inclusivity/diversity hours folks, get into it!”

 The Tweet went viral, and her prediction has pretty much come true, since she’s starting to get picked up for shoots left right and centre, with both Paper Magazine and ASOS inviting her to pose for them.

A post shared by aaron (@aaron___philip) on May 22, 2018 at 12:22pm PDT

 Philips, who is gender non-conforming (and who has indicated a preference for any of the pronouns they/them and she/her) and lives with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, was inspired by Kylie Jenner’s controversial 2015 Interview cover to become a model.

The cover saw Jenner sat in a golden wheelchair, and Philips was part enthralled, part annoyed, saying:

“When I was younger…I was excited about the image and representation [disabled people] were getting because we just saw a wheelchair in general…But I didn’t know how to take it, because I didn’t see that she was using our image to fetishise us. [Later] I was thinking, ‘Where were all the other people with disabilities in chairs in the shoot?’’

A post shared by aaron (@aaron___philip) on May 22, 2018 at 12:10pm PDT

After attempting the traditional route of sending headshots to agencies, Philip went to social media to get her big break.

The Bronx-native is hell-bent on making the fashion industry more inclusive, explaining, “We’re being neglected in the space of beauty.”

A post shared by aaron (@aaron___philip) on Mar 19, 2018 at 12:03pm PDT

Thankfully, her mission has been largely well-received, though she realises sometimes people can get it wrong about her:

“I’m just a teenager trying to live my life. When [people] see me and make themselves feel better about themselves by looking at my disability…that’s not my intention. I have a hustle. My disability is a part of me, but it does not define my whole identity.”

Philip, you’re an inspiration. Now somebody sign her, ASAP.


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