Whether they’re posing on the runway, appearing on the front cover of glossy magazines, or sharing photos on Instagram, fashion models can have a huge influence on our tastes and styles. But some fashion icons go even further, talking about issues they’re passionate about and raising awareness for important causes - including epilepsy.
Here are five examples of fashion models with epilepsy who are using their platform to talk about seizure disorders and raise awareness.
5 fashion icons with epilepsy
Besides appearing as the faces of clothing and cosmetics brands, these five fashion models are also promoting awareness of epilepsy through their work and social media accounts.
Brazilian-born, LA-based model, fashion designer and social media influencer Camila Coelho runs successful fashion and cosmetics businesses. In addition to her professional successes, she’s also a passionate advocate of epilepsy awareness.
Camila was first diagnosed with seizures aged nine, and has spoken publicly about struggles she’s faced (from concerns about alcohol and seizures, getting pregnant, through to self-acceptance of the condition). She’s an advocate for the Epilepsy Foundation too!
Australian fashion model Robin Lawley has suffered from numerous seizures since 2018, as a consequence of the autoimmune disorder Lupus. Lawley has revealed she was afraid of opening up about her epilepsy because “the fashion industry is notoriously judge-y”. Nevertheless, by telling the world about her conditions, she hopes to tackle the stigma.
Born in South Sudan and raised in Canada, model Ariish Wol has fronted several campaigns for major brands, including H&M and Thierry Mugler, and she has also appeared on the cover of Vogue Italia.
Ariish says she got her first seizures aged 12, and she struggled to accept them at first. What is more, in her community, some people held superstitious views that meant she experienced stigma at a young age. She has said that she would love to be the face of a fashion campaign to promote awareness for people with epilepsy.
New York-based British model Chelsea Leyland has appeared in fashion campaigns for soap brand Dove and MTV. And she also has epilepsy – the model has revealed she lives with Juvenile Myoclonic seizures, and she is a major supporter of the Epilepsy Society (a foundation for people with seizures in the UK).
Leyland recently helped design a yoga bodysuit to raise money for epilepsy charities!
British model Sophie Wilson-Smith made headlines in 2018 for an Instagram Story she shared, showing one of her seizures. The model has focal seizures (where she remains conscious).
She told Refinery29 magazine that one motivation for sharing the video is that epilepsy is more common than people think, and that not all seizures are ‘dramatic’ tonic-clonic seizures. By making people aware of ‘invisible’ health conditions, she hopes to increase understanding.
Inspiring epilepsy stories
As these five examples of models with epilepsy show, there are plenty of successful people with seizure disorders who are promoting awareness of the condition.