What Are ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ Animal Models?
Disabled animals are as valid as any other, so we created ‘Perfectly Imperfect’
We all know the world is changing. The call for diversity and representation across every field is stronger than ever and the public wants to see themselves represented, whether that be in terms of their race, gender, sexuality, or disability. It’s no different in the world of animal talent, and that’s why we started the ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ range of animal models; to represent those pets with life-changing disabilities and give them the same chance as any other animal.
Or, more importantly, to normalise the portrayal of disability, so that people with these challenges feel accepted and valued. We want people with disabilities to see our models in the spotlight and feel empowered and normalised.
The world around us is imperfect
The modelling world of old is being forced to change. Airbrushing supermodels is becoming a thing of the past and people expect to see more attainable and aspirational talent on stage, as well as people that better reflect the world around us.
Of course, there is a time and place for the classic supermodel look, but the populace has embraced the fact that everybody is different and that that is something to be celebrated, not changed.
Plus sized models like Ashley Graham and models with vitiligo like Winnie Harlow have shown that breaking the traditional perceptions of beauty can create stunning results. Moreover, it allows every plus-sized woman or person with a skin condition to feel that they offer just as much value as anybody else.
Models are no longer shying away from their disabilities
Models like Mama Cax who famously took to the catwalk with an amputated leg have proven that there’s no reason to hide who anyone is. Cax was diagnosed with bone and lung cancer at 14 and lost her right leg soon after with amputation from the hip.
She starred in a catwalk for Chromat which celebrated people with disability and used slogans like ‘Intolerance Not Tolerated’, ‘Celebrate Cellulite’, and ‘Body Policing Prohibited’. It also featured a model wearing a hijab as well as a cancer survivor who revealed her scars.
The Chromat event presented unparalleled cultural and social diversity and embracing disability was (and remains) a core aspect of its ethos.
Ok, so what does all of this have to do with animal models?
Everything, really. Animals suffer from many of the same conditions as humans, as well as some specific to them. We don’t want to just take on clients that are able-bodied; we want to represent every dog and cat out there and prove that every animal has as much value as the next.
Thus, ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ was born. We celebrate all of life’s imperfections and show that any animal can be an effective pet model with the right training.
Many of our models are dogs and cats (as is the majority of our business), though we accept any species. Most of our disabled models and actors have amputated limbs, meaning they walk with the aid of a pet wheelchair. However, we’re open to taking on any pet with a disability, providing they have the level of obedience and training we expect of all our talent.
People want to see life’s imperfections
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from starting Perfectly Imperfect, it’s that customers want legitimacy. Using an animal model with a disability not only creates instant empathy, but it empowers the business and demonstrates a mindset of promoting all kinds of talent.
While we obviously can’t represent important issues like race, gender, and sexuality, we feel proud to offer a service that gives animals that could potentially be forgotten, a chance to shine.
Animal representation may not be on the level of other social movements, but if a child with a disability feels a little more included due to seeing one of our dogs in wheelchairs up on a billboard, we’ve done our job right.
Find out more about Perfectly Imperfect models here.
Note: At Urban Paws UK we are committed to treating every animal in an ethical and responsible way. Please get in touch for more information on how we put pet care first.