A Fylde coast girl has become one of the faces of a new fashion range.
Emily Ryan, six, was specially chosen to be one of the models for Marks and Spencer’s ‘Kids Easy Dressing’ range, which provides clothes for children with disabilities.
The Highfurlong School pupil, who is a member of Zebedee, a management agency for disabled models, posed in her wheelchair at a professional photoshoot in London in August.
She made her official modelling debut this week as the range went on sale on Monday.
Her mum Becky Ryan, 30, said: “M&S approached Zebedee and explained the new range of clothing, and Emily was successfully chosen and so off we went to London.
“She had her hair and make-up done, which she really enjoyed, and she modelled three different outfits and had a great time.
“She absolutely loves clothes, loves shoes, and loves getting dressed up and trying things on.”
Emily lives with a hytoxic brain injury that she sustained due to a lack of oxygen when Becky was giving birth to her.
She also has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and uses a feeding tube.
When she was born, doctors warned Becky that her daughter would probably not survive the day.
But she defied all odds, and now lives with her mum in Thornton, and communicates using Eye Gaze, an eye tracking device that allows non-verbal people to communicate using pictures and words on a computer screen.
Becky said: “She’s very much a typical six-year old who wants to do what she wants when she wants. A diva is how you could describe her. She’s very happy, likes to be busy, very sociable and she’s got an absolutely great sense of humour.
“There are lots of things that she can’t do and she’s never going to be able to do, but I try to give her the opportunities to do everything that she wants to do. She has been skiing, she’s swam with dolphins.
“She does have a very busy, active life but her medical side of things does mean that time is precious and we do have to make the memories while we can.”
She said that she would continue to push for modelling jobs for Emily for as long as she continued to enjoy it.
She said: “It’s great to see that children with disabilities are being represented in the fashion industry.
“M&S is a massive, well-known name and for them to be representing Emily in her wheelchair is phenomenal, and good on them because a child in a wheelchair should have every right and every chance to do modelling. Just because they are in a wheelchair, it shouldn’t stop them.
“Everyone was really friendly. It was really professional. There was a lady doing hair and make-up, and when she was having her photos taken there was a wind machine, which was quite exciting.
“I’m very, very proud of her. The photos are lovely and I think they sum her up really well, and I can’t help but smile when I’m seeing her smiling.
“I’m proud of everything she’s done. When she was first born they said she would not survive more than 24 hours, and she’s here at six-years-old and now she’s an M&S model.”