New Jersey’s Rebekah Marine is one of the most inspiring models we’ve ever seen. The 5’3″ beauty, who calls herself the “Bionic Model” on her website, was born without a right forearm, and now has a prosthetic from Touch Bionics that she controls with her iPhone. She told Today that growing up she put her modeling dreams on hold. “My entire teenage life was spent hiding from the camera. I was very self-conscious.” She was inspired to start modeling when a friend suggested she show off her new prosthesis, which she got in 2011. Since then, she’s gone on to appear in Nordstrom’s 2015 anniversary catalog and walk the New York Fashion Week runways.
Rebekah has been making a name for herself in the modeling world and helping diversify the fashion industry along the way. Rebekah, who lives in West Deptford, told Today, “Modeling is such a huge platform to educate people who have never seen somebody with a limb difference. I was such a ham growing up and I loved playing dress-up, so I knew (modeling) was what I wanted to do. I grew up very confident and funny and outgoing as a kid.”
Last week, Rebekah walked in the inaugural Runway of Dreams Gala and Fashion Show, which featured Tommy Hilfiger outfits designed specifically for people with disabilities. Rebekah is an ambassador for Runway of Dreams, a nonprofit organization that works with the fashion industry on adaptive clothing.
Another groundbreaking New Jersey model, Jillian Mercado, was featured in this important show, using her wheelchair to move down the runway. Jillian, who has muscular dystrophy, also appears on Beyoncé’s website sporting “Formation” merchandise.
Another nonprofit Rebekah works with is Lucky Fin Project, which raises awareness about and provides support for children born with limb differences.
This year at New York Fashion Week, Rebekah walked alongside six-year-old Gianna Schiavone, who was born without a left forearm, both sporting FTL Moda gowns.
Rebekah told People, “Gianna’s my mini-me. She looks like me and she was also born the same way I was. Walking with her meant the world to me. It’s almost symbolic of passing the torch to future generations.”
Watch Rebekah’s inspiring video about following her own path to success:
And here’s proof that even though she’s out there changing the world, Rebekah doesn’t take herself too seriously.