Some of Us Were Born Different. Some of Us Were Born to Take Risks.
Viktoria Modesta’s image is like none other. She is a British Latvian singer, songwriter, model and amputee who wears futuristic prosthetics to challenge body image in music and fashion. She says that she never felt comfortable thinking of herself as disabled, and that this inspired her to actively challenge old-fashioned views.
Viktoria spent most of her childhood in hospitals due to a problem with her leg arising from the negligence of her treating doctors. As Viktoria grew older, she started to experiment with performance and fashion, which helped strengthen her confidence. However, her inability to use her leg was a constant issue, making her feel embarrassed and ashamed. She said ‘By the time I was 16, I was starting to discover the direction of the person I wanted to be. I had strong interests in fashion, music and nightlife, but at the same time, people would meet me in a crowded venue and think I had some charisma and then think I didn't really follow through because of the condition I had with my leg. It really affected me on a day-to-day basis.’ In 2007, Viktoria chose to have a below-the-knee leg amputation to not only improve her health but her life.
Since then, Viktoria’s presence both in the underground fashion and music scenes continues to grow alongside her more mainstream visibility. Viktoria has become an icon, a pinup, a model, a muse and an inspiration to many. Having the pressure of the fashion industry on your shoulders is something the Viktoria is exempt from. She told Elle Magazine:
Yeah, and I'm guilty of following the media and feeling like I need to fit in at times, [especially] in the past. And it's only because I have such an extreme difference on my body where I was thinking, "For crying out loud!" I'm looking at all the magazines and all the videos and was just like, "It doesn't matter how much I try, I'm never going to be fitting that ideal so what is the point? Why am I doing this? I should start actually enjoying being who I am as opposed to constantly trying to be someone that I'm not—someone else's ideal—and feeling miserable about it." I'm a really firm believer that it's about not focusing on what you don't have but working to your strengths.
“For a long time, pop culture closed its doors on me as an amputee and alternative artist. I think people have always found it hard to know what to think or feel about an amputee who wasn’t trying to be an Olympian. In sports, ‘overcoming’ a disability makes you a hero, but in pop there is no place for these feelings”.
She is determined to make the most out of life and make her dreams come true. Viktoria is relentless in her pursuit of life and maintains the fairytale is not over yet. Viktoria's physicality has become well known for challenging the modern perception of altered beauty and beauty itself. Her beauty and unique features set her apart from her modelling counterparts but it's her character and resilience that many will attribute to this new fashion muse. She has been photographed for iD and Wonderland magazines and has inspired Italian designer Sergei Grinko based an entire collection on her look. Viktoria recently partnered with the Alternative Limb Project to create high-end designer prosthetics. More often than not, her prosthetics consist of Swarovski Crystals, a light-up leg or an actual black glossy spike. She states ‘I really hope I’m challenging preconceptions about what it is to be a model. You shouldn’t be afraid to push boundaries in an industry that’s so image conscious. I hope to inspire other amputees.’
*The Alternative Limb Project offers a personal and friendly bespoke service, which provides unique prosthetics to blend in with the body or stand out as a unique piece of art, reflecting the wearer’s imagination, personality and interests. They will involve the wearer in all stages of the process from conception of ideas to the final work. An alternative-style limb can help to break down social barriers, delight the eye and provide an unusual talking point.