It’s nice to see wheelchairs on the catwalk and it seems there are no limits for the Australian girl Justine Clarke who entered the Australian Miss World challenge in her wheelchair. The beauty contest is held annually and was this year in hosted Adelaide in Southern Australia.
Justine who has used a wheelchair for over 2years suffers from a severe leg deformity which prevents her from waling without assistance. However it doesn’t prevent her from doing much and her plucky courage has made her and her wheelchair some news by entering the competition. The quote that is making several newspapers is 'It does not define me... I can still be strong, feminine and beautiful'. As she arrived on stage in her wheelchair she announced 'No matter what your race, size or disability, you are beautiful'.
Justine did not progress to the next stage but will still work closely with charities including the 'Beauty With a Purpose' movement - a mission to benefit 'the most vulnerable in our society. She went on to say 'A wheelchair does not define me or limit me. I can still be strong, feminine and beautiful.'
Although Ms Clarke has been un a wheelchair for about two years she has chosen not to let the full story about her condition emerge. Speaking with one journalist from herself propelled wheelchair she commented 'I don’t really want to go in to what happened but I want to be a role model and empower young women. For somebody in a wheelchair to be able to compete is a big thing. I really hope it sends a message that no matter what your race, size or disability - whatever makes you different - you are beautiful.'
Justine was driven by the unusually large percentage of disadvantaged children who are wheelchair users in Southern Australia and her plan is to continue to work with Variety the charity for children and spread the Beauty With a Purpose message. She hopes to help raise awareness for young wheelchair users and encourage fund raising efforts to help the cause.
Certainly seeing a wheelchair on the catwalk was an empowering sight and her Justine’s comments about a wheelchair not defining her hit a note with many at the event. Being able to compete in a wheelchair does define her message that 'no matter what your race, size or disability – whatever makes you different – you are beautiful.'