THE BLOG

We Need More Disabled Models in Ad Campaigns

04/07/2014 17:18 BST | Updated 03/09/2014 10:59 BST

Scope's Great Donate appeal is all about getting people to drop off their unwanted clothes to its charity shops this July.

I star in fun online ad to publicise it, that I really hope will encourage people to bring their donations in, to support Scope's brilliant work with disabled children and adults who need a bit of extra support in life, and their families too.

The ad is based on the iconic Levi's laundrette advert. The one starring Nick Kamen where he strips to his boxers in a laundrette then washes his jeans and T. shirt.

In Scope's version I play the role of a guy who has taken a sign in a Scope charity shop window appealing for clothes a little bit too literally! I pop into the shop, strip down to my boxers and then donate my clothes.

We filmed it at Scope's West Hampstead shop and had a great laugh making it. The other stars of the ad - the shop manager Cathy, volunteer Maureen and all the other people in the ad who react to my strip were great.

Disability needs to be more visible

It was really great to be picked by Scope to front this campaign - I'm really excited about it. We really need more disabled people included in advertising campaigns if attitudes towards disability are going to change for the better.

I'd like to see more exposure of disabled people in the public eye. Not just doing big events like the Paralympics but being models or being on more TV shows...because half of the disabled people on TV, like the guy in the wheelchair in Glee for example, are not even disabled!

The Paralympics were good for changing people's attitudes, but there was nothing after that. It kind of just went quiet. But they were great at the time - I performed at the opening ceremony.

I was at circus school for four months learning the trapeze and climbing ropes. I ended up being 35 metres in the air, flying through the stadium. I had to climb a 10ft rope in front of 80,000 people and the Queen! It was pretty full-on.

After the performance I was approached by Angel Sinclair who runs an agency called Models of Diversity, and I've been modelling ever since.

Being disabled and a model

It's tough being disabled and in the modelling industry.

I've been campaigning with Models of Diversity and we're calling on the fashion, beauty and marketing industries to recognise the beauty in people of all races, ages, shapes, sizes and abilities.

I've been in ads for Barclays and the retailer boohoo.com but we've spoken to a lot of designers and they've said that they don't want to use disabled people to represent their brand because people will be more interested in the disabled model than the clothes, which I think is really sad.

Growing up

When I was a kid there weren't any disabled role models around to look up to - I didn't even know that the Paralympics existed at that time. So I didn't really have much inspiration.

I was born with a condition called Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency which basically meant that my right leg didn't grow properly and my hip joint was underdeveloped.

I didn't have a proper knee joint and the bones and muscles in my right leg were just really weak and small. Basically I had what I call a 'dead weight' - a leg that didn't work at all.

I think I was always very unsure about what to do with my leg. In the end when I turned sixteen I chose to have it amputated as it was holding me back and it seemed like the easiest option.

Importance of role models

In primary school I was in and out of hospital every other year having lots of operations to try and improve its mobility. I was in horrendous amounts of pain and I hated the way it looked growing up.

I got quite annoyed with life, I was quite down. Then I was having treatment at a place in Bristol when I met Louis. He introduced himself as a one-legged stuntman! He'd just come back from filming with Stephen Speilberg on the set of Saving Private Ryan.

It opened my eyes up that there were opportunities and chances out there, and that you've got to adapt and try and use your disability to your advantage.

To watch the Strip for Scope video starring Jack and to find out how you can support Scope's Great Donate appeal please visit www.scope.org.uk/strip follow @Scope and #StripForScope