This amputee bombshell is beating the odds.
Shaholly Ayers, a congenital amputee who was born without her lower right arm, has opened up living out her dream as a fashion model despite being told she’ll never make it.
A decade ago, Ayers was brutally rejected by a modeling agency who told her “there’s no way you’re going to be a model because you don’t have two arms,” Ayers recalled during a recent interview with NBC’s “Today” show.
“I tried to explain — I have a prosthesis, I can wear that — really trying to sell it,” said Ayers, who was still denied by the agent.
That rejection motivated Ayers even more.
“Initially, I was really upset and mad,” she said. “But I walked back to my place and I realized, you know, I’ve been told ‘no’ so many times in my life…it dawned on me that she just doesn’t know how to do it.”
That’s when Ayers made the choice to pursue a modeling career without an agent.
“I was so new, I was so green,” Ayers told the news outlet. “I didn’t have a portfolio or anything. I had to start at the very beginning. I worked with photographers and makeup artists to build my portfolio first, and then I started going to local boutiques and telling them I’d model for them. It worked.”
Most recently, Ayers has posed for Nordstorm’s catalogue and walked the runway during New York Fashion Week in 2015.
Ayers, who lives in Hawaii, does modeling shoots both with and without her prosthetic arm, depending upon what the shoot calls for, she said.
“I’m comfortable wearing my prosthesis or not wearing it, but what I’ve found is that (directors) are really understanding,” Ayers said, adding that outside of her modeling life she uses her prosthetic mostly only while doing outdoor activities like kayaking.
“I have adapted,” Ayers said. “I also have a boyfriend who helps me put on necklaces and things like that.”
However, Ayers has stood in the face of adversity her whole life, adding that she was bullied during her adolescent because of her disability.
“[A]s I got a little older, around third grade, that’s when people started name-calling. I was beat up by a boy because of my disability. A neighborhood bully,” she said.
Ayers was on her school’s basketball team and one time during a game she was called a “one-armed freak” by a member of the opposing team, she said.
“It’s not as bad now,” said Ayers who aspires to “change lives of children such…