No leg? No problem!

Amputee model Viktoria Modesta reveals new canons of beauty.

Fascinating and bold, badass and sexy, 26 year old Latvian model and singer Viktoria Modesta could be just one more pop star trying to follow in the footsteps of other divas like Madonna, Beyoncé or Lady Gaga, except for one small thing – she has only one leg.

The beautiful Viktoria was in fact born with a birth defect due to a doctor’s negligence, and by the age of 20, had 15 surgeries, which were not very effective, to increase her mobility. She left school when she was 14, as a result of the bullying from her classmates who teased her for not being able to walk properly. When she realised that the situation could not improve, she voluntarily had her lower left leg removed in 2007, and it was from then on, one could say, that her career as an artist began to take flight.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity or depression, this strong and alternative songwriter, who had been modelling since the age of 15, gained the self-confidence and empowerment which let her not only launch her musical career, but also mix her fashion statement with her singing.

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She appeared on fashion and alternative magazines, launching a début single Only You in 2012, and presenting herself as the world’s first bionic artist, due to her prosthetic leg which, instead of hiding, Viktoria displays as an asset and an icon of showing that being different, does not mean being handicapped. This new perception of beauty, not to mention the artist’s actual focus on her prosthetic limb as being something which can be both fun and elegant – her way of dressing the limb differently each time, be it by lighting it, wearing it as a sparkling diamanté-covered leg, a fierce, glossy spike, or a robot-like protuberance, promotes the fact that disability is not a barrier to stardom, and that though the journey may be hard, nothing is impossible if you have the drive and the courage to go for it.

The pop star not only embraced her disability, she transformed her image, taking numerous photo shoots with her prosthetic limb as the main visual attraction. This sparked some controversy and criticism, since there are those who maintain that Viktoria is exploiting her disabled state, instead of letting her voice and talent speak for her. The singer’s fans however, respond by saying that, as other artists use their looks and bodily assets to further promote themselves, since her prosthetic limb is part of her, she uses this as a statement and as an adornment too.

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Perceiving her leg as the one issue which was holding her back, the model did one simple thing – she got rid of it. She did not worry that as an amputee she would be at a disadvantage to all the other people wanting their share of fame, never lost heart or hope, and in the end, she was proven right. In her new song Prototype, championed by British Channel 4, Viktoria asserts that ‘we are limitless, we are not confined… stop limiting yourself … I am the prototype of the future.’ In other words, she is telling us to stop imagining invisible lines and walls which prevent us from gaining what we want in life; SHE has made it, with nothing else but her own courage and talent, even with her health troubles and problems of mobility, and this shows that with work and dedication, everyone can achieve their dreams.