Q1) Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m Nancy, a 53 year old mum of two grown-up children, a counsellor, Advocate for children who have autism, model and amputee. These labels define my role, my identity and my physical state, but only by society’s expectations of me. The way I choose to live my life is up to me, so I choose to break the stereotypes and do things my way.
Q2) Tell us about what you do, and why you do it.
I trained to be a PE/Dance teacher and spent many years sharing my love of exercise and dancing with students until I had a serious accident on a trampoline and ultimately had my leg amputated when I was 28. After my children were born I retrained and now work for the NHS and privately as a counsellor, working with people with depression and anxiety and helping amputees and their families come to terms with the loss of this life-changing injury. With my children’s encouragement in 2017 I signed up to the newly formed specialist talent agency called ‘Zebedee Management’ and use this platform to try to increase awareness and inclusivity of people with disabilities, difficulties and differences in the fashion, media and tv world. I have modelled for British Airways, Getty Images, Persil and Samsung, as well as been on the front covers of Grazia and PosAbility magazines.
Q3) What makes you feel courageous?
Pushing boundaries and testing my limits as an amputee. My role as a mother has shown me the power of leading by example. They never judge or expect anything else from me, just loving me for who I am. I have done more adventurous activities being an amputee than I ever did with two legs like, abseiling, jet skiing, indoor wall climbing, parasailing, horse-riding and indoor skydiving. I even climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge last year! I began to accept my limitations and start celebrating everything I could still do, to the point of posing naked for editorial photo shoots. I have come full circle and embrace everything my body still allows me to do.
Q4) What is one thing you wish you could tell your 16-year-old self?
Inner courage starts with self-love. You will face challenges in your life that will test your sense of self but don’t stay hiding in the shadows. Don’t grow up allowing others to dictate your path, your choices, who you want to be. Find the courage to be who you want to be and follow that dream until it becomes your reality.
Q5) What is one piece of advice you can give a fellow lady who might be lacking courage?
The only important opinion in life is your own so don’t look or wait for other people’s approval. Look within and find what’s holding you back. It begins when you take back control and tell yourself you are in charge of your life now.