Is the world ready for a disabled pop star? Ready or not, Viktoria Modesta is here, and she's impossible to ignore.
After being born with a damaged lower leg, Modesta finally underwent an amputation as a teen, but her missing limb has not held back her music career.
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If the video for her song 'Prototype' is anything to go by, she is capitalizing on the difference. In fact, Lady Gaga would go gaga over how Modesta uses various artificial limbs—including a spike and a prosthetic lit up like a bulb—as a sexy accessory.
Truly, this is uncharted territory.
"...in the video I made every point of pushing my sexuality to the level that I’m comfortable with," says Modesta. "It isn’t about being objectified and trying to please a male audience; it’s about representing a sexuality that I felt good about.”
In fact, Modesta claims to feel empowered by her difference, and the world has taken notice. Channel 4 in the UK aired the singer's video during a commercial break on the X Factor finale, racking up more than 10 million views on the channel's website, with a further 1.5 million views via YouTube.
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Born in Latvia, Modesta moved to England when she was 12. Not surprisingly, she describes her school experience as “absolutely horrific—being foreign, looking different.” She became suicidal as a teen, and ultimately dropped out of school before finding solace in London’s alternative clubbing scene.
As an amputee, Modesta doesn't feel like the poster girl for disability, yet her entire style and image hinge on drawing attention to her difference.
"I represent the feeling that you have a choice to create your own identity," she says. "It is more than just coming out as the first amputee music fashion artist, whatever you want to call it. It’s about taking charge of your own assets."
"If you don’t fit in, then don’t fit in.”
While the quality of Modesta's music is up for debate, anyone who brings disability to the mainstream deserves kudos. However, I long for the day when an artist can simply be an artist first and foremost, without the word 'disability' even entering the conversation.