It’s hard enough for a model to make it out there, never mind if she has a 15-inch scar down her back. This was the case for 16-year-old Ontario native Emm Arruda, who made her debut at New York Fashion Week earlier this week with an exclusive at Proenza Schouler.
“I always thought it was something I would never do because of my body being all out of shape,” she says of the “S”-curve her back took on caused by scoliosis. “Even after the surgery, when people mentioned modelling to me, it seemed impossible.”
She’s not the first model who has suffered physical scars to have walked the runway this season. A few days ago, we posted this story about acid attack survivor Reshma Banoo Qureshi who walked Archana Kochhar’s spring ’17 presentation. And hopefully, she won’t be the last.
“Other models find it inspiring… some think it’s cool,” remarks Arruda, on what modelling life has been like so far. “I guess it’s what sets me apart and makes me special.” In today’s casting market, that certainly does count for something; perhaps scars are the new gap teeth—though for the person beneath the scar, there’s a pain that is certainly not to be taken lightly.
“It definitely used to bother me. Especially at the time, going through it, my body was in all kinds of crazy shapes,” says Arruda. “Once it was fixed I struggled a little emotionally with the scar. But I 100% embrace it now. I’ve learned that it’s beautiful… to be comfortable in your own skin and to be yourself.” Cue the real (non-fashion) claps.