They have had a harder start in life than most. Yet, as their radiant smiles prove, these children refuse to let anything be withheld. All are missing limbs, due to birth defects and even horrific abuse, but they show the world that beauty comes in many forms, through their new jobs as models.
Earlier this month, the children – all signed at Sheffield-based agency Zebedee Management, proud of the use of models with different handicaps – took part in an astonishing body-confidence campaign to celebrate their differences.
Here their proud mothers Kathryn Knight tell their extraordinary stories.
SHE IS A HUNTER – THE WORLD IS HER OYSTER
The parents of Neisha Webb, 12, were told during the 20-week scan that their baby would miss her right lower leg
Neisha Webb, 12, lives in Hartlepool with her mother, Liz Webb, 45, an A&E child nurse, and father, David, 48, who runs a framework business. She has a sister, Ashleigh, 26, and brother, David, 17. Liz says:
David and I discovered during my 20-week scan that our baby was missing her right lower leg. We knew that there was something wrong with the sonographer's reaction – and then she told us.
Neisha was 13 weeks early and spent 12 weeks in intensive care. There were many times we thought she wouldn't make it, so the fact that she came home a week before her due date told us what a hunter was. It helped us to be so much more optimistic about the future.
She embarrassed expectations from the start. She got her first prosthesis at eight months – they had to order a special one because she was so small – and she quickly started using it.
But it wasn't all just sailing. When Neisha was very small, she loved being different because she felt special. But as she grew older, she noticed that it could also be a hindrance, so there were a few moments of frustration.
Yet she has always had a wise head and she is lucky to have a great group of friends.
It's wonderful to see her grow in confidence since she joined Zebedee. When I was young, you rarely saw anything positive about people with visible differences. Now I feel that the world is her oyster.
BULLIES MAY BE RAW, BUT IT IS SO BRAF
Kiryn Reall, 13, has blossomed & # 39; since he joined the modeling agency
Kiryn Reall, 13, lives with her mother, Sabrina Reall, 34, a beautician from Boston, Lincolnshire. Sabrina says:
Earlier this year I saw how Kiryn was a model for a teenage magazine.
Dressed in Gucci and Tommy Hilfiger, she looked absolutely beautiful and at ease.
It may sound frivolous, but it couldn't have been more important because Kiryn was born with an atypical gap in her left hand.
She has always been so brave, but she has been terribly bullied since she was a teenager. At one point, a gang at her school was circulating an online video that made fun of her – it got so bad that the police were involved, although nothing came of it.
She tries to laugh, to tell people that she & # 39; has forgotten to raise her hand & # 39; but it has taken its toll.
In the worst case, she wrote me a note calling into question her entire existence. It broke my heart.
When she was two years old, I had the opportunity to stand up and put them on her hand – but that would have affected her balance and I feared it would give her greater problems. She was also offered a prosthetic hand, but it was a cosmetic rather than a practical solution.
Since she started working with Zebedeee, she has blossomed. She always wore long sleeves that she pulled down, but now it doesn't matter much to her.
I can only hope that campaigns like this help other children not to tolerate what she has experienced.
FRIENDS LOVE THAT HE CAN DRAIN HIS POT
Harry Tyrrell, 13, had amputated his leg shortly after his third birthday
Harry Tyrrell, 13, lives with his mother, Rachael Pegg, 40, and stepdad, Gareth, 47, at Market Bosworth in Leicestershire. Rachael works in accounts and Gareth is a project manager. Rachael says:
Shortly after Harry was born, a friend told me: & # 39; Never stop him from doing anything again. & # 39; It is an advice that I have followed to the letter.
He has done so much: swimming, tennis, skiing, soccer. It's amazing when you consider that he was born after 29 weeks. His esophagus was not connected to his stomach, so it was a fight to keep him alive.
I knew from my pregnancy scans that he would also be born with a club foot – but that was the least of my worries.
By the time Harry was six months old, it was clear that his right leg was having real problems. His foot was very small, he turned inside and he was much shorter than his left.
He could not walk well and shortly after his third birthday doctors made it clear that an amputation under the knee was the only option. The surgeon told us the less fuss we made, and he was right. Harry fired amazingly well; he played football within half an hour after his first prosthesis was fitted six months later.
When he went to high school, I was afraid he might be bullied, but he's a bit of a celebrity there because he can pull his leg on and off!
Things have come so far since childhood. During that time, people often shied back from those with visible differences. But we can always do more. That is why I am so proud that Harry puts himself offside. He hasn't done any campaigns yet, but it's only a matter of time.
SHE WILL ALWAYS BE OUR DREAM DAUGHTER
Kelsey Brookman, 12, was born with no fingers on her right hand
Kelsey Brookman, 12, lives in London with mother Nicola, 32, her father-father, Danny, 35, and her brothers and sisters DJ, 13, Archie, eight and Connie, five. Nicola says:
We learned during my 20-week scan that Kelsey had no fingers on her right hand. I burst into tears – yet I knew that I loved her with all my heart.
That's why I'll never forget what the ultrasound technician said on our next scan: & # 39; We give you the option to end up, because some couples want the perfect daughter. & # 39;
I remember thinking: this is our daughter and she will be perfect.
I deliberately didn't do any research before Kelsey was born, so I had no idea what her hand would look like – a little palm with what she & # 39; nubbins & # 39; instead of fingers. We later discovered that it was caused by amniotic band syndrome, when amniotic fluid cuts off blood flow to a part of the fetus.
We have never made much of her difference. The only time she ever mentioned it was after she went to school, when she came home and asked if her hand would ever grow. Saying no was heartbreaking.
Fortunately she was never bullied, but sometimes she lacks confidence. So when I heard about Zebedee in 2017, I pushed her forward to give her a boost.
Since then, she has taken a number of photo shoots, including one for an American magazine run by actor Jonah Hill's mother, raising awareness of children's mental health issues.
She hasn't been paid yet, but that doesn't matter. What she does is so important, not only for her self-confidence, but also to show the world that everything that the ultrasound technician believed is perfect in many shapes and sizes.
PEOPLE SEE ONLY ITS LARGE, SPLENDID SMILE
Albie Bayley's parents, 20 months old, said they were & # 39; powerless & # 39; when they were told that he would miss his right hand
Albie Bayley has lived with his mother, Kelly, 27, his company director, father, Adam, 30, and his four-month-old brother, Max, in Cheshire for 20 months. Kelly says:
I will never forget the terrible sinking feeling in my stomach when we were told that Albie would miss his right hand.
It was about something called symbrachydactyly, a non-genetic birth defect.
We felt helpless. We were young, this was our first baby and the only things I could see were the bad things. I was panicking about how people would treat him.
Then he arrived seven weeks early and his hand was the least of our worries.
Almost two years later, and Albie surprises me every day. He can do everything children do with two hands – and more.
He does not even seem to have noticed that he does not have a full right hand.
Nobody else seems to notice it either – the first thing people see is his beautiful big smile.
He is a natural writer who likes to stand in front of the camera, so Zebedee is a great opportunity. His first assignment was to model a clothing line from Boden and since then he has made many other castings, both for charity and campaign shoots.
He has already earned some money, which went directly to his own bank account.
It's great to see Albie and other kids like him being celebrated for their differences.
I hope it helps other mothers in my position.
SHE TELLS PEOPLE A SHARK IS OUT
The mother of Taitum Pitfield, eight, called her a determined, independent little soul & # 39;
Taitum Pitfield, eight, lives with her mother, Hayley, 43, an educational assistant, her father, Ben, 40, a plumber, and her sister, Morgan, 11, in Maiden Newton, Dorset. Hayley says:
After I learned that Taitum missed one of her hands in a prenatal scan, I wrote a letter to the midwife stating that I didn't want to go in a mixed ward with other mothers. I didn't want hordes of people staring at her.
I think a lot about that now when I look at Taitum who poses for photos that thousands will see.
When I was pregnant, I was worried about how she would succeed. Through the charity organization Reach we met other parents of children with limb deficiency, which helped to relieve many of my fears, but it was still hard to imagine how she would navigate the world.
It all changed the moment Taitum was born. She was such a determined, independent little soul. She doesn't want help – it has always been a case of & # 39; I can & # 39 ;.
We call her poor hair & # 39; little fairytale hand & # 39 ;, and although people sometimes stare at her, she has learned to deal with it.
She tells people she didn't grow well in my stomach. Then, if they keep asking, she tells that a shark has finished.
She has achieved so much: she can run 10 km in less than an hour, she can cycle and she is no longer even paddling.
In the six months since Taitum has joined Zebedee, she has already done three photo shoots with River Island for their website.
She won't earn much – maybe a few hundred pounds – but all she earns goes to her future.
It's not really about the money, it's more about how much she loves it.
Now I forget that she is different – I hope others will.
& # 39; I HAVE NO LEGS, BUT I LOVE MY LIFE! & # 39;
Tony Hudgell's mother, four, says he has a & brutal personality and an amazing zest for life & # 39; has
Tony Hudgell, four, lives in the southeast with his mother, Paula, 51 and father, Mark, 54, who works in asset management. The youngest of eight children, he was adopted by the Hudgells as a baby. Paula says:
Tony has such a brutal personality and an amazing zest for life. In fact, it is not unusual for him to announce that only in the room, while shouting: & # 39; I love my life! & # 39;
It is breathtaking to think of the pain he has experienced: Tony's biological parents mistreated him so much that when they finally brought him to the doctors, he did not respond.
His life was in balance for weeks. He had multiple organ failure, sepsis and toxic shock syndrome.
Yet, amazingly enough, he went through it and was ready to go into foster care in 2015 – so a little four-month-old boy, with both legs in plaster and still weighing only 9 lb, came to our house.
At that time, nobody expected him to sit, walk, talk or achieve one of the usual milestones. Mark and I didn't care – we fell in love with Tony the moment we met him and when he was offered for adoption, we knew we couldn't let him go.
Seeing how he was thrown through the challenges of life has been humiliating.
Tony had to amputate both his legs in 2017 because the damage inflicted was so great that she could no longer be repaired.
Now, when people ask him what happened, he comes up with different stories every time – the other day he said he had put his legs on the slide.
I contacted Zebedee after seeing Tony posing for school photos.
Since then he has had so much fun with castings – although he has not had any official work yet.
I hope his photos show people that even if you have a limb difference, you can still have a great life.
NOW SHE GETS THE HAND BALL TEAM
Mackenzie Collins, 11, wants to study at the Royal College of Music
Mackenzie Collins, 11, lives with parents Samantha, 53, and Steve, 45, and her three older sisters in Kent. Steve works for Crossrail, while Samantha works for Eurostar. Samantha says:
On a recent parent's evening, the gym teacher said she wanted Mackenzie to be the captain of the handball team.
I thought about it when I was just pregnant and my midwife told me that the bottom half of my baby's arm wasn't growing properly.
They then scanned me every month. Both Steve and I came up with all these horror scenarios, worried about how they would handle.
It turns out we don't have to worry, because she handles it brilliantly. Mac has always had a strong will and, as the youngest of four, she has learned to become independent very quickly – she has never been mollycoddled.
When she was only a few months old, a specialist told us that she needed a prosthesis, but it was so cumbersome that she continued to work with it.
Nowadays she has a whole range of prostheses for activities such as gymnastics, but nine times out of ten she doesn't bother with it.
I once asked her if someone at school had ever asked her about her arm and she said no.
I think a lot has to do with the fact that the Paralympics bring handicap to the mainstream – although there is more work to be done.
Mac joined Zebedee a year ago and has since done one shoot for Primark and another for the NSPCC.
She has earned a few hundred pounds, which we have placed in a savings account for her.
She thinks it is great, although she says it is her ambition to study at the Royal College of Music.
I am still worried about her, and I will always do that, but seeing my beautiful, brave daughter on billboards is a reminder of everything she has achieved.
The models wear clothes from next.co.uk, monsoon.co.uk, newlook.com, debenhams.com and riverisland.com
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