Making the opportunity to be represented

Our gorgeous Faith is privileged to be represented by specialist talent agents Zebedee Management.  The amazing stories of Faith’s fellow models are usually the focus of the agency’s promotions but this weekend, as they celebrate 18 months of success, the spotlight is being shone behind the scenes on Zebedee’s inspirational directors, Zoe Proctor and Laura Johnson.  Here Zoe gives us an insight into their story so far…

ZM1Both Laura and I have a background in working with young people and adults with disabilities and additional needs and the media industry too.

Laura is a qualified social worker and mummy of a child model and I’m a qualified FE lecturer, specialising in teaching performing arts to people with disabilities, I have also worked as a model myself for over 20 years.

Laura and I came up with the idea for ZM on a winter walk on the beach. I remember being so frustrated at the lack of opportunities my very talented performers have.

It really was a lightbulb moment… we realised that if no one else is going to look to champion disability diversity in fashion and the media, and create opportunities for people with disabilities in this industry, then we will!

As directors we oversee the whole of the agency, from working with clients, booking artists and scouting for new talent, and working hard to get our name out there and ensuring the bookings are coming in for our talent.

We are a social enterprise, so another important part of our work is developing a community for our members, providing training and development opportunities and developing awareness campaigns.

Working with those who have disabilities means we have a responsibility to them beyond their bookings. We take extra time to work closely with clients, artists, parents, carers and service providers to build a transparent, trusting relationship and to manage the expectations of everyone involved. We put in a huge amount of time and energy into ensuring their talent is supported and protected throughout the casting and creative process. We attend shoots to alleviate anxiety, hold workshops to better understand vulnerabilities and strengths, build confidence and support the families with community social media groups.

ZM2We have a long way to go but our passion and drive has only grown and grown and to think we have helped some incredible people realise their dreams makes us so proud.

The support we have been receiving recently is wonderful too – Emma Gardner from ELVIS ad agency says: “ I want to talk about the unsung heroes, the two women that helped cast the recent models you have been seeing in some huge campaigns, two women that are doing brilliant work in driving real change behind the scenes.
Zoe and Laura founders of Zebedee Management, a specialist model and talent agency working with, and for, people with disabilities and difficulties in this brutal industry. With a unique and incredibly important USP, their clear company ethos is both impressive and humbling.”

Our models say:

“The experiences I’ve had from being a part of Zebedee have been life changing. They have given me not only a sense of belonging but also body empowerment and a better positive outlook on not only my looks but my opportunities in the future. I use a wheelchair and they do not see it as a problem but a part of who I am and they embrace it. Which has helped me embrace it too. It has completely changed my life for the better and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us all. Thank you.”

“Gabriel has gained confidence in front of others. His concentration and listening skills have increased. He enjoys being in front of the cameras, but doesn’t just do his own thing now. He can follow direction with increased understanding and he is less dependent on us (parents).  As a family we are proud to be part of team Zebedee, we feel valued and very much that the team know us as a family.”

“Zebedee has given me purpose and self confidence to be who I am! I feel comfortable with myself and my disability which I saw as something that held me back, but not anymore, I can see a future for myself. I LOVE TEAM ZEBEDEE!! It couldn’t be run by two better people!”

 

We are now 18 months old and the company is still in its infancy but momentum is truly gathering, we have now had models booked for nearly all of the major high street brands, including the groundbreaking River Island campaign, Marks and Spencer’s, Mothercare and Matalan. We have had models featured in Hunger magazine by Rankin, walking in London Fashion Week, starring in several of the big soap dramas and loads more bookings by forward thinking companies.

We work tirelessly to make a positive change not just for our models lives but to a world wide audience in the hope we can breakdown barriers and see a more inclusive representation of differently abled people in the media and fashion worlds, to normalise what is possibly the last taboo.

Find out more at www.zebedeemanagement.co.uk
Follow #teamzebedee on Instagram

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Behind the Scars

A photographic project by Sophie Mayanne

Scars are very rarely made the focus of a camera lens, let alone in a positive light.

But one photographer aiming to adjust our gaze to these natural signs of healing is Sophie Mayanne.

Her Behind the Scars project aims to celebrate the beauty of these apparent flaws – “a badge of victory in a fight, recovery from an accident or illness, a long awaited ‘fix’ Behind the Scars is a celebration of beauty, of flaws, of battles won and obstacles overcome.  It is about survival, living beyond that and capturing the memories” – and to provide a platform for the stories that accompany them and the people they adorn.

And what stories she has uncovered!  A quick glance at her Instagram account and you are welcomed into worlds of treatment of congenital conditions, fighting life-threatening illnesses, suffering severe burns, overcoming issues with self-harm, recovering from traffic accidents, the results of acts of violence and even survival from a gas explosion.  Along with all their individual roads to self acceptance.

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Photo: Sophie Mayanne #BehindTheScars

We are honoured that, through her involvement with Zebedee Management, Faith has had the opportunity to take part in #behindthescars and her photograph and experiences featured alongside all these stunning stories.

The youngest person so far to take part in #behindthescars, this is what we wrote for her.

“Faith had open heart surgery when she was nine months old.  That part of her life story will be forever written on her skin by the keloid zipper scar that is still healing, even though she is now already one year old.

“When she was recovering in Glenfield Hospital, Mummy was speaking to one of the cardiac nurses about Faith being signed up by Zebedee Management, who asked if they would show her scar.

“#BehindTheScars means we can now tell her that they’re not just showing it, but celebrating it.  Celebrating it as a testament to that nurse’s loving care, and the immense skills of her colleagues, and Faith’s strength and determination.

“It represents all of the extra love and joy her brother, sister, Mummy and Daddy will experience by having her in their lives for longer.

“It is beautiful, because she is beautiful.

“Currently we’d like it to just finish healing so she can get back to splashing in the bath, and on with the next stage of her development.  In time it might help her connect with people who have had similar experiences to her – in the same way her Down’s Syndrome has led us to discover a fabulous community offering a very warm, friendly welcome.

“But right now, Faith just thinks it’s a bit itchy.”

Visit Sophie’s website at http://sophie-mayanne.com/ and her Instagram account at www.instagram.com/sophiemayanne/ 

Daddy Malpi has a scar on his hand from a knife cut that happened when he was working as a butcher whilst studying at university.  Mummy has a scar under her chin when she slipped and fell in one of her primary school classrooms, one on the back of one hand where some medication burnt her skin and a c-section scar from the emergency procedure that welcomed our eldest mini into the world.

What part of your story is written on your skin?

Stepping into the spotlight

In the spring of 2017, at just a few months old, Faith was signed by new talent agency Zebedee Management.

As well as obviously having impeccable taste, the two driving forces behind the company – Laura Johnson and Zoe Proctor – are truly inspirational.  Building a business from scratch in a notoriously difficult industry, with the aim to increase the representation of people with disabilities in fashion and the media, in just their first year they have already helped their talent work with such household names as Disney, the BBC, River Island, Matalan and Mothercare.

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Photos by Chris Waud, Go!Photo

Being such a mini model, Faith requires regular updates to her portfolio to capture how quickly she’s growing and changing.  She missed the last regional group photoshoot when her heart operation was suddenly brought forward so we were really grateful when Lincolnshire photographer Chris Waud offered Zebedee models the chance for a portfolio update in his Market Rasen studio.

As you can see, she had a great time and Chris managed to capture a cheeky glint in her eye too.

He also won over Faith’s big brother and sister who never need much encouragement to perform for the lens and wanted to get in on the act too.

I know I’m slightly biased but I think they all scrub up rather nicely!

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To book a Zebedee model or find out more about who they represent, visit the agency’s website at www.zebedeemanagement.co.uk and follow #teamzebedee on Instagram.  

Florals, nauticals and frayed threads – it’s Lincoln Fashion Week 2017

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Photo: Stuart Wilde Photography Ltd on behalf of Lincoln Fashion Week

If you’ve spotted live mannequins in the city’s shop windows, had an exclusive event tote bag thrust into your hands in the High Street or seen demonstrations of the latest hairstyles all the cool kids are choosing to display then you’ll know this week is Lincoln Fashion Week 2017 (April 28 – May 5).

Lincoln’s fashionistas were encouraged to sign up to sashay down the various catwalks showing off the best of what the city has to offer in this season’s styles and the mini ones were very keen to answer the call.

I’m sure I’m not the only mummy who’s never quite sure how their children are going to behave in certain situations but both Luke and Willow enjoyed taking part last year (Model behaviour) so much that I thought it was definitely worth giving it a go.

This year the venue for the Children’s Fashion Event was Debenhams in the St Mark’s Shopping Centre, the minis took part in the Mothercare section of the show and both Faith and mummy made our catwalk debuts.  Photographer Stuart Wilde was on hand on behalf of Lincoln Fashion Week to capture all the models strutting their stuff and took a particularly stunning one of Willow clearly enjoying being the centre of attention.

The Lincoln Mothercare staff didn’t get to meet the minis beforehand but made excellent selections for them.  Willow is a fan of bunny rabbits and liked spotting the ones peeking out from behind the flowers of the yellow floral prom dress and, with its full skirt and one of the neck bows peeping out of the side of the cute cardigan it was paired with, her outfit’s 1950s’ vibe pleased this mummy.

Luke is very slim and last year paperclips were deployed to prevent the trousers he was modelling falling around his ankles and disrupting his enthusiastic posing.  This year I’d remembered to bring safety pins with me but they were made redundant by the bibshorts that meant his shoulders took the strain.  Part of a set that included a stripy t-shirt (children always seem to look good in stripes, don’t they?), the outfit is part of the retailer’s Beside the Sea range and very redolent of summer.

Faith’s floral dress with yellow highlights matched her siblings outfits tonally and, quite used to the adoration a newborn attracts, took the whole proceedings in her stride (or in mummy’s stride anyway as she was obviously being carried).  What a good looking family we’d be if I could match their clothes so well each day?!  It would never work of course seeing  as Willow’s “age-appropriate behaviour” currently leaves her diametrically opposed to almost everything I suggest and we don’t usually make it through a day without at least one person needing a change of clothes at some point.

Mummy had a little wobble when first trying on the jeans she was allocated.  Clearly three months hasn’t been long enough to loose any baby weight (or four years to be more accurate seeing as she never lost it after having Luke let alone Willow or Faith) and she probably shouldn’t have had three slices of cake for lunch before heading to the show (in her defence it was very nice cake and oh my goodness doesn’t breastfeeding make you hungry?).

Fortunately I finally realised that the denim part was meant to stay below the waist and there was a stretchy bit that went over the “bump” (I mainly wore leggings during pregnancy so lacked jeans experience) and felt very hip and trendy at least temporarily due to their fashionable frayed knees.  The jeans were teamed with a striped blue nursing top (hopefully adults look good in stripes too) which was very comfortable and flattering and seemed to provide easy access (although I didn’t try it out in the middle of the catwalk!) and I’m quite tempted to treat myself to one if only the weather would stay consistently nice enough to prompt me to.

We only had the one outfit this year which was quite enough for daddy and mummy Malpi who were doing most of the undressing and dressing but as Luke left the catwalk saying “I want to do it again” we better make sure we sign up to Lincoln Fashion Week 2018 as soon as we can.  And, who knows, the minis might even get to play at hiding in the lockers in the changing room again because that seemed to be great fun too!

What we wore:
Luke – Bibshorts and T-Shirt Set
Willow – Yellow Floral Prom Dress and White Cardigan
Faith – Floral Dress and Knickers Set and White Purl Knit Cardigan
Mummy – Frayed Ribbed Knee Over the Bump Skinny Maternity Jeans and Striped Space Dye Wrap Front Nursing Top

Find more outfits at www.mothercare.com

Find out more about Lincoln Fashion Week via its Facebook page.

Sunday Sevens #5

#SundaySevens is a blog series started by Natalie from Threads and Bobbins.  Here’s my fifth entry into the series looking at a few of the little things that have happened in the mini ones’ lives this week…

HowTimeFlies1. How Time Flies

Christopher Nibble wasn’t our only theatrical experience this week as I braved taking all the minis on my own to see How Time Flies at the Lincoln Drill Hall on Monday.  Billed as interactive, it was testament to how engaging the show was that both Luke and Willow were fully focused on the archaeologists’ investigations into ancient skeleton Skelebob’s possible origins and endings whilst I had to walk an unsettled Faith around at the back of the auditorium several times.  Eccentric characters, melodramatic speculation, interesting facts – did you know the largest fossilised poo ever found is seven inches of Viking excrement? – repetitive sing-along musical interludes, a camel that added to the toilet humour and the chance to move, touch, discover, build and be involved in the narrative meant that the minis weren’t the only ones fascinated by the unfolding mystery.  To find out where Handmade Theatre are taking Skelebob next click here.

ChickenHat22. Seasonal storytelling

Less ardent tractor fans who made it past the line of vintage agricultural vehicles quicker than we did at Countryside Lincs last week may have made it to one of Rhubarb Theatre’s interactive storytelling sessions.  Willow obviously knew she’d have a second chance to enjoy one of the company’s theatrical tales as we were booked in to Lindum Books’s monthly storytime on Tuesday.  In honour of the Easter holidays the session was based on The Little Red Hen and saw us decorating and donning flapping chicken hats which Willow was eager to share with daddy later that evening too.  We missed March’s interpretation of Jack and the Flumflum Tree as it was fully booked before we thought to enquire so don’t forget to give them a call to reserve your place if you’d like to take a mini one along in May.  To find out more about the uphill store’s calendar of events click here.

IMG_43933. Celebrity posing

Christopher Nibble wasn’t the only star that Willow was able to pose for the camera with this week.  Despite thinking we’d somehow managed to avoid the Frozen phenomenon we discovered a few weeks back that, whilst we haven’t seen the film all the way through, the minis have with their grandparents.  And Willow seemed to definitely know who Elsa and Anna were when they put in an appearance at Holly Tree soft play centre this weekend and was eager to skip to the front of the queue to get her photo taken with them.

4. Hard graft

Whilst most parents were planning egg hunts and Easter crafts for the bank holiday weekend, the minis’ parents took them to a workhouse instead!  Fortunately for them The Workhouse in Southwell is now a National Trust property and provides exploration and dressing-up opportunities for its visitors instead of hard labour.  And we can confirm that the tasty treats in the cafe are a lot more delicious than the original menu of gruel sounds too.

IMG_44115. Hill Holt Wood

We did have plans to go egg hunting as well though and braved today’s weather forecast to head to Hill Holt Wood to join in their organised search.  We’re going to put our lack of success down to following another group of searchers too closely rather than simply being completely inept at finding any.  Having accumulated a tally of zero, we took a “not ‘appy” Luke and his sisters into the craft room where Easter crowns were decorated and cake devoured in the adjoining cafe.  Luke and Willow were also very privileged to have the hard won chocolatey prizes of friends’ children shared with them (when Luke allowed it as he didn’t think he should take it at first as he hadn’t found an egg).  Refuelled we then took another quick turn around the woods and were well rewarded in racing the raindrops as this time Luke found an egg, now “‘appy” we were allowed to return to the car.  Apparently 100 eggs were originally placed around the woodland, I wonder how many they’re still looking for now!

6. Eggscellent explorers

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Our home, very DIY, egg hunt was much more successful in volume though.  Whilst we had to relocate to indoors, Luke wasn’t satisfied with finding all the shiny-wrapped treats once.  Following their first quest, daddy and mummy were banished to the hall whilst he and Willow re-hid them all so we had to find them instead and then we all took turns to hide and find them over and over again for the next hour or so, albeit with a slightly decreasing supply each time.  It was very heart-warming that Luke, unprompted, was always keen to make sure Willow had as many in her basket as he did.  Although Willow had to be convinced that the prolonged search was a sensible plan of action at first.  She seemed to consider the find the chocolate, eat the chocolate way of playing the game more preferable but soon joined in enthusiastically too, remaining as excited at finding an egg in the same place for the tenth time as she was the first time.

7. Not just chocolate

Luke was given a mini bat signal as part of an Easter gift from grandmum.  Daddy and mummy may let him have his turn soon…

SundaySevens

Sleep for the camera!

Faith had a newborn professional photo shoot recently and this is the gorgeous first preview shot of the session that we’ve been sent.

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Due to her early arrival, little stay in the hospital post birth and us adjusting to life with three following her homecoming, we didn’t have the chance to book a session in the time period normally suggested for newborns but Faith behaved impeccably on the day never taking too long to settle – something I’m sure she’ll make up for another time!

Rebecca of Milestones Photography was lovely both with Faith and also her older siblings despite, after initially joining in, them then deciding to quickly take apart her children’s play area next to her home studio.

I can’t wait to see the full set of photos!

Fourth birthday celebrations are picture perfect

Like Luke, many of his friends having been turning 4 in recent months so he’s been a bit of a social butterfly taking in all their birthday celebrations.

Soft play centres, open farms and family homes have all provided the back drops for stampeding hoards of sugar-fuelled preschoolers to mark their friend’s special occasion.

But it was another slightly different fourth birthday that recently helped to showcase a Lincoln venue’s celebratory credentials.

Lincoln Mums, an online magazine dedicated to providing support, guidance and information for parents in the local area along with a few helpful membership discounts and offers, chose to mark its fourth birthday at The Collection in Lincoln.

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Also marking the second anniversary of Emma Crellin taking on the Lincoln Mums mantle, Emma joined forces with The Collection’s party team to put on a few extra activities for the museum’s younger weekend visitors, displays of party food and had lots of local information on hand for their older chaperones to pick up.  There was even a party bag (or “party present” as Luke likes to call them) to take home with you!

We also took advantage of the opportunity to pick up a new leaflet detailing The Collection’s children’s birthday party offerings because Luke and Willow are starring on the front of it!

The mini ones are fans of the children’s room at the front of the museum, as well as of having a good hands on run around the main displays, and don’t need too much encouragement to dress up which makes for a happy mummy.

So when we read on Lincoln Mums Facebook page that the museum was looking for willing participants for a promotional photoshoot we volunteered the mini ones.  Daddy and Mummy Malpi were asked to participate too but we ended up being saved from the camera lens by being a bit busy on the day welcoming Faith into the world.

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The photos were taken by Stuart Wilde Photography and, while realise we might be a bit biased, we think Luke and Willow make very cute knights.

The Lincoln Mums Expo 2017 will take place on Saturday, March 4th.

Happy birthday and anniversary Lincoln Mums and Emma!

(Guess who else is celebrating their fourth birthday – it’s Sarah and Duck!)