Model with bionic arm walks NYFW runway with her 'mini-me'

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"We should be celebrating uniqueness, not conforming to what the media thinks is beautiful."

 Rebekah Marine is not your typical runway model.

Born without a left forearm and hand, Rebekah never let her disability keep her from achieving her dreams.

Though rejections from various agencies when she was younger definitely slowed her down. "It didn't go very well, of course, when casting directors noticed my disability," she told People. "Hearing the words 'You'll never have a future in the business,' really hit me hard.”

She grew up being self-conscious about her arm, not fond of getting her photos. Six years ago, when she was 22, she received a prosthetic arm and everything changed. 

"Although I had a body-powered arm in elementary school, I gave up on it when it proved to be too difficult," says Marine. "The technology in my i-limb quantum really made my day-to-day life easier."

In a fiercely touching moment during New York Fashion Week, Rebekah walked the runway with a young girl who was born with the same disability.

 Her ‘mini-me’, Gianna Schiavone, 6, was born without a left forearm. Hand in hand, Rebekah and Gianna wowed the crowd wearing stunning creations by designer Josefa de Silva. 

"Gianna's my mini-me. She looks like me and she was also born the same way I was," Rebekah said. "Walking with her meant the world to me. It's almost symbolic of passing the torch to future generations.”

When asked what her favorite part of the show was, Gianna said it was holding hands with Rebekah. 

And walking with Marine was special for Schiavone too.

"It's fun because we both have the same thing in common," the young model says. "Walking with her makes me feel happy because there's not just one me in the world."

"It was fun because she put her hand out and we got to hold hands and at the finale I got to go up and pose and then she got to take me down,” Gianna happily told People.

Rebekah hopes to push the boundaries of fashion and to open doors for young dreamers like Gianna. 

"I hope Gianna will keep inspiring people of all ages – especially younger kids – to celebrate their uniqueness,” says Rebekah.

After the show, Schiavone and Marine headed to a nearby diner, along with Schiavone's family and Marine's entourage. There, the two spent the rest of the evening eating and laughing with each other.

My runway partner ???????? @ftlmoda @nicolegkelly #nyfw

A photo posted by Rebekah Marine (@rebekahmarine) on

Gianna isn’t the only young model that Rebekah has worked with. She has also formed a close friendship with Madeline Stuart, who has been making waves in the fashion industry as the first model with Down Syndrome. 

She also graced the New York Fashion Week runway that night.

"It's so important to include more diverse models, because after all, nearly one in five people in America have a disability," Marine told Mashable. "We should be celebrating uniqueness, not conforming to what the media thinks is beautiful."

#tbt with @madelinesmodelling_. We're both walking in #NYFW again in February. I can't wait to see her. ❤️ @ftlmoda

A photo posted by Rebekah Marine (@rebekahmarine) on

READ: Bread vendor to top model: How this 27-year-old mom became an accidental star

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Written by

Bianchi Mendoza