Once upon a time, a young girl was born in Latvia at the time that it was still known as the USSR. Between birth complications and a doctor’s negligence, her hip and leg were both dislocated during the procedure. Viktoria Modesta has since then risen from her past and is attempting to challenge the notion of disabled individuals with her new music video release, Prototype. This bionic woman is one to keep an eye out for in the near future!
[pull_quote_center]‘After that, there were several corrective procedures, including putting the leg in a plaster when I was two weeks old, but sadly that actually stalled the growth of my leg.[/pull_quote_center][pull_quote_center]‘By the time I was six, there was a considerable difference between my two legs and I had 15 surgeries to try and correct the problem from then until I turned 12.’ When the doctors discovered her disability, they kept her parents away from her for a total of 5 days before recommending that she be put into a home. Viktoria compares growing up with a disability at the time of the USSR as ‘tantamount to a life sentence’.[/pull_quote_center][pull_quote_center]‘Society in that time – they would have put me in a children’s home and hidden me away from the eyes of the public.'[/pull_quote_center]
Luckily her parents provided her with unconditional love and support and raised her as parents should. Although her life at home was warming, life outside was not so much:
‘Growing up in Latvia, you can’t be a stylish, intelligent person if you’re disabled.
‘That was the propaganda that was placed on me.
‘Forget all of the superficial elements like the fact I couldn’t wear heels and skirts, it also really affected my physicality.
‘I couldn’t do sport, I couldn’t even walk for very long.
‘I was embarrassed because it made people not know who I really was.’
As with most typical teenagers, the bullying got worse when she began high school. Her parents had moved to London and being an outsider made it difficult and made her an easy target.
‘I barely went to school when I was in Latvia because I was in and out of hospital and when I came to England, I went to school for a couple of years and endured a lot of bullying.
‘It was very extreme, I can honestly say there were times in my teenage years when it was very difficult.
‘It was even more of a problem because the teachers weren’t responsive to any of it.
‘I ended up leaving school when I was 14 and I remember at the time, social services actually threatened my parents with deportation because they were saying I wasn’t going to school, but I couldn’t because I was being treated so badly.’
After she finished school and had the time to focus on fashion and music did she begin to develop self confidence. Her decision to remove her leg come out of the pain it brought and the uselessness that it was to her. After a couple of years, Viktoria was able to convince a surgeon to go ahead with the procedure. Viktoria did not see the loss of her leg as a negative event but rather as a positive one.
Last week, her new video sponsored by and aired on Channel 4, went live during the X Factor finale. The video features Viktoria in a variety of different outfits theatrical prosthetics in the place of her leg. She highlights her leg many times in the video to challenge the notion that disabled individuals can’t achieve their dreams.
Besides achieving her goals as a singer/dancer, Viktoria aims to spark conversation with her music video. Costing Channel 4 approximately £200,000 to produce, Viktoria hopes to raise awareness that a disability doesn’t define the person that you are, rather what you’re able to accomplish.
[pull_quote_center]‘I think the world is generally moving into a more accepting place, but there is a long way to go.'[/pull_quote_center]
‘It’s still so shocking when you see someone with a missing arm on television.’
‘There is a lot of work to be done.’
[quote_center]What do you think of Viktoria Modesta’s message? Do you like her image as the modern day Bionic Woman?[/quote_center]
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