Daisy-May Demetre was just 18 months old when both of her legs were amputated below the knee.
She was born with fibula hemimelia, meaning she hadn’t fully developed certain bones in her calves. Following the surgery, she was fitted with prosthetic blades that allowed her to walk and run.
Fast forward almost a decade, and Birmingham-born Demetre has now become a child model, gymnast, and global inspiration — all before her 10th birthday.
Demetre has already dominated London Fashion Week and was the face of UK clothing brand River Island in July 2018.
Now, she’s breaking new ground as the first double-amputee child to walk at New York Fashion Week at a show on Sept. 8, alongside her able-bodied 11-year-old sister Ellen.
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She will walk for Lulu et Gigi Couture, according to the BBC, after Eni Hegedűs-Buiron, its founder and head designer, saw her on the catwalk in London.
"I was asked if I was okay with having an amputee walk in my show,” Buiron told the BBC. “To be honest I was surprised by the question. For me, a child is a child and thus is beautiful and perfect.”
Yet a stigma around disabilities still remains: discrimination can stop people with disabilities accessing employment, getting a quality education, or receiving proper healthcare.
In developing countries — where 80% of people with disabilities live — , disability can trap people in a vicious cycle: poverty itself fuels disability, through malnutrition, disease, lack of water, and vulnerability to dangerous environments. However disabilities can also lead to poverty, preventing people from accessing education and employment opportunities.
Demetre’s family makes sure she keeps up with her studies alongside her modelling work, which has seen her work with some of the biggest brands in fashion since she launched her career in 2018.
She was also one of the 13 winners at the Pride of Birmingham awards on March 26 this year, given out to members of the community who have shown outstanding compassion or bravery. Demetre was named a “child of courage” for inspiring other children to dream big in the face of immense challenges.
And for her father, who first suggested she move into modelling after watching a segment on disability and fashion on television show This Morning, her success is all about fighting for representation in the industry.
"[Daisy is] going to be making a little bit of history,” Alex Demetre, her father told the BBC.
"[Disability] doesn't stop you; it definitely doesn't stop Daisy,” he added. “She is fitter than most grown men I know. But the modelling doesn't define Daisy, it is just a part of what does... she just does Daisy, it is the way she goes about life with a smile on her face."