A Conversation With The ‘Bionic Model,’ A Woman Who’s Challenging Old Ideas About Beauty And Limitations

Life & Culture Editor
04.09.16 17 Comments

Rebekah Marine is proud to call herself “The Bionic Model.” The nickname is an obvious nod to Marine’s right arm — a high-tech prosthetic. And while she’s made headlines for her stunning looks, she wants more from life than just being really, really good looking. A motivational speaker and budding author, Marine also travels the country inspiring others and challenging conventional ideas about both beauty and limitations. She’s an ambassador for The Lucky Fin Project and regularly mentors children with upper limb differences.

At New York Fashion Week this year, the 29-year-old model walked the runway with Gianna Schiavone, a six-year-old who, like Marine, was born without a forearm. Marine wore her bionic prosthesis, Schiavone went bare-armed, the two cutting impressive figures as they modeled matching gowns at the FTL Moda show.

In a recent conversation, Marine opened up about what it was like growing up different, her experience with fame, and how it feels to work in an industry where diversity is just now finally being embraced.

It’s been said that you’re changing the face of modeling? Is that something you originally set out to do?

Not originally. I didn’t really know what I was set out to do when I first started this journey. I knew I wanted to make a difference somehow… I just didn’t realize how great of an impact I would eventually have on people. It’s actually humbling to be at the forefront of this huge change in the industry. It’s very flattering to be a part of it.

Most recently, you walked in New York Fashion Week with Gianna, a six-year-old who also has a limb difference.

Gianna and I met through the Lucky Fin Project, which is a nonprofit organization that I’m an ambassador for. Gianna is everything fashion. She loves lip gloss and trying on new clothes. When I had the opportunity to bring her into the show, I knew she was going to be a great fit for it, and I knew she would be a natural. It’s just such a huge moment for both of us, because for me it was like I’m passing the torch to future generations, and for her, she’s setting the pace for other little girls who may struggle with confidence issues. I think it was a huge deal for a lot of little girls out there.

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