Disability is Diversity

Diversability is an award-winning movement to rebrand disability through the power of community.

Meet Rebekah Marine, a model in every sense of the word

Rebekah Marine, the self-described Bionic Model, is equal parts fashion model and role model. When she isn’t busy walking in New York Fashion Week, Rebekah is mentoring children with limb differences and advocating for inclusion in one of the most exclusive spaces: the fashion industry.

Born without a right forearm, Rebekah has built a successful career as a fashion model in a world whose definition of beauty historically excludes people with prosthetic limbs. Rebekah talks with Diversability’s Alisa Zipursky about her new brand ambassadorship with Runway of Dreams, what it’s like to have a limb difference in the fashion world and more.

Rebekah Marine

Rebekah Marine

Alisa: When you were a kid, what was your relationship to clothing and to fashion?

Rebekah: I loved playing dress-up as a kid. It was only when I became very insecure about my "disability" that I started to wear baggier clothes. I often wore hoodies and long-sleeve shirts that hid my arm.

Alisa: Tell us about your decision to be an ambassador to Runway of Dreams

Rebekah: Partnering with Runway of Dreams seemed like a natural choice for both Mindy and me. Growing up, I struggled with zippering my own jacket, buttoning my shirts, etc, so working with a foundation that helps make those challenges a bit easier is great. I believe in Mindy's mission, and I'm so incredibly grateful to be a part of her journey.

Credit: Csaw Studios

Credit: Csaw Studios

Alisa: Can you talk about your experience in the high fashion world and what representation and diversity within that space means to you?

Rebekah: My experience in the fashion industry has been challenging, but very rewarding all at the same time. It's not easy to be vulnerable and open about something I felt very insecure about, but knowing that it helps others not feel alone is what makes it all worth it. The fashion industry is brutally honest to a fault, so you need to have thick skin. That's something I've developed over the past couple years. I'm so humbled to be a part of this revolution in the fashion industry. It's so deeply important that we show diversity in fashion because people need to see themselves in clothing.  

Credit: Csaw Studios

Credit: Csaw Studios

Alisa: How do you see the fashion industry changing in terms of inclusion of people who are differently-abled?

Rebekah: I think we're going to start seeing a huge change in the next few years. People are tired of seeing the same cookie-cutter models. People want to see themselves represented in the fashion industry. I think this is just the beginning of something big.

Alisa: Now as a successful 29-year old model and brand ambassador changing the world and taking New York fashion week by storm, looking back if there was one thing you could tell the kid-version of yourself, what would it be?

Rebekah: If I could tell the kid-version of myself anything, I would say, "You're awesome the way that you are, and don't let anyone tell you differently."

Alisa: What does Diversability mean to you?

Rebekah: Diversability is a celebration of uniqueness!

To learn more about Rebekah Marine you can visit her website and instagram.