GET TO KNOW: FUCHSIA CARTER
I’ve always loved to perform.When I was between the ages of 16 -18, I belonged to a drama school. At the time, I was very overweight, and as a result of this, I was incredibly shy. I started life modelling (posing nude for artists while they draw you) to try and overcome my insecurities and build my confidence levels.
To begin with I modelled fully clothed, and although I wasn’t yet ‘baring all’, I found it really helped me to accept my body. When I became disabled at 26 years of age, I lost myself completely and became trapped – not only in the chair, but also inside my own head. I began to hate my body, and all that it represented, I was always a sensual being who loved sex and exploring my body. I was not ashamed to pleasure myself and thought I looked amazing but then suddenly that all stopped. I would change in the dark and never in front of people, I would close my eyes when my carers washed or showered me. I couldn’t bear to acknowledge my physical state. My loss of myself.
In 2015, after losing a significant amount of weight, I had a bad fall which kept me in hospital over Christmas. During this period I thought long and hard about my life, and the role I had to play in this world. I felt like a drain on society, I felt like it wasn’t fair for people to have to look after me, just because of this one incident that had changed my life forever!
But then it dawned on me; I had to get out of the negative headspace I was in, and start to view and use my body positively. A friend of mine told me I looked beautiful and that I should go back to life modelling. I laughed at her when she said it, but after thinking about it long and hard, I decided she was right. I would also love to add that the amazing nurses at Eastbourne District Hospital kept telling me to keep going to fight that I meant something. One nurse had a stern world with me and then hugged me. I needed it. I needed that human connection.
When I got out of hospital I started to exercise my legs in bed, naked. I watched all my muscles working, and felt really proud that I had not given up. I started to appreciate my naked body; I began to like my curves and ‘wobbly’ bits. I’m not perfect but damn, I’ve been through hell and survived! My body is definitely stronger because of it. I need to work some more on certain parts of my body. I am still single so I am not sure if all of me works despite me trying myself. But I am sure there is the right woman out there for me and together we can explore.
2 years on, I am slowly reentering the world of life-modelling and commercial modeling. I am signed to Zebedee management. It isn’t easy, but I’m giving it a good go – I won’t let it defeat me! The first time I took my clothes off in front of all of those strangers I wasn’t nervous at all! I felt euphoric and liberated. I was beaming inside. The fact that a wheelchair user was naked, and being drawn by so many people felt empowering. I felt free for the first time in my life.
“I felt like it wasn’t fair for people to have to look after me, just because of this one incident that had changed my life forever!”
However, I have lost out on many modelling jobs because of my disability. Once employers find out the chair is a permanent thing and not a prop, it changes their perception of me. It is like I am not ‘allowed’ to be naked, because I do not fit the normative mould. I blame the media for perpetuating and promoting this one-dimensional representation of the body. Also a lot of my amazing portraits of me naked have been removed from the internet for violation of rules. Including from Twitter and Instagram and yet the likes of Kim Kardashian and her ilk are allowed all over Twitter. I can help but feel that that is discrimination. I didn’t have a nipple on show. But may be a bit of public hair. Oh the horror!!!
But I have also lost out on normal acting jobs also. Again when they find out the wheelchair is not a prop for the audition I get all the questions like. Are you able to act? How will you cope with long hours. I’m not sure we have wheelchair access. All that bullshit. It’s so heart breaking. I am a trained actor and yet I can not use my training because of the closed mind of those in casting.. and yet they are willing to put an abled bodied person in a wheelchair. Something we call ‘crippingup’ and want awards and all the adulation, as if they have done the world a favour. I will show the world that we are just as worth.
I have also been told over the years that I am selling out the disabled community that I should not take my clothes off. I was shocked but I thought about it. These people have been told for years that they are ugly, not wanted, not allowed to be sensual and naked. And here I am flaunting my sensuality and nakedness. That must make them feel worse, my whole point is that I want show we are all bloody amazing. In reality, we are all different and that is what makes us beautiful.
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US ARE BEAUTIFUL!
Words by Fuchsia
Fuchsia insta is @fuchsiaaurelius
A big thanks for this really creative and inspiring piece from Fuchsia xx
Photos by Chris Dee