As I was scrolling through Instagram one fine day, I came across this amazing picture of a model who has polio. At first glance, I thought it was just another fashion brand trying to be inclusive. But, I’m glad to announce that I was wrong. Upon further inspection, I found out that there was a whole Instagram page dedicated to differently-abled and unique models!
DON Management is Malaysia’s first talent & modelling agency for differently-abled and unique models. How cool is that? We reached out to the founder of DON Management, Mr. Bernard Benzamin Nathan for more info on what DON Management is all about. FYI, DON stands for “Diversity • Opportunity • Novelty”.
One of the main perceptions that they wanted to change was that different-abled people couldn’t be models or actors.
“What others see as broken, unfit or imperfect we see as people who are made perfectly beautiful by God and are destined for great things.”
He believed that beauty standards in the world are slowly changing in the sense that more and more people are feeling included and worthy. For example, 20 or 30 years ago, we were all used to seeing an all-white cast for a Hollywood movie (with the token African-American). It’s not the case nowadays as more and more movies have casts with actors of different backgrounds.
Bernard, who was a youth advocate for MRDS (Malaysian Rare Disorders Society), said the idea for this website came to him during a pitching session and from there he and his friends kickstarted DON Management!
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#LivOutLoud 2.0 campaign in collaboration with @livlolamy for World Cerebral Palsy Day featuring ASHLEY, IVANNA and JANNA.💖 What is #LivOutLoud all about? ✨ It is a movement set to spread the message of living your best life unapologetically. It also serves as a support ground to all who wish their voices to be heard and their experiences to be told. ▪️ Models: @ashley_tan98 @ivannanehanda @wonderful_world_of_janna Stylists: @d8.eyes @teiaajman MUA: @nneve Hairstylist: @khushhmua Photographer: @catherhea ▪️ #Livlolamy #WorldCerebralPalsyDay #DONmanagement #DONmodels #DONmanagementmodels #teamDON #talentagency #modelagency #modellingagency #firstinmalaysia🇲🇾 #models #modelling #photoshoot #inclusivity #inclusivitymatters #inspiration #empowerment #diversity #opportunity #novelty #unique #differentlyabled #differentlyabledmodel #disability #disabilityawareness #thisability
They started doing photo shoots, and with the help of a friend who created portfolio pictures and small, local brands started noticing them. However, there is still some hesitation from big brands when they are contacted to work with the models from DON MANAGEMENT, which makes Bernard super thankful for the brands that are willing to collaborate with them.
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“Life is like a wheel, sometimes we are above, and sometimes we are below”🙌🌈. . These are the wise words of our model Nazirah. She knows best that giving up should not be an option in our lives if we want to succeed. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going!💪❤️ . Having represented Malaysia in the “2017 ASEAN Para Games” for Chess, this powerful woman knows that we can truly become unstoppable in life once we start believing in ourselves.⭐️💯 . BE BRAVE, BE BOLD, BE YOU ! Because at the end of the day, tell us “WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T”!!! 🎊🎉🎊 • Hijab and t-shirt by: @hhmofficial Photography📸: @senimanvisual @artbonestudio Make up💄: @byninarosdi • #WHOsaysyoucant #HHMOfficial #DONmanagement #DONmodels #DONmanagementmodels #teamDON #talentagency #modelagency #modellingagency #firstinmalaysia🇲🇾 #models #modelling #photoshoot #inclusivity #inclusivitymatters #inspiration #empowerment #diversity #opportunity #novelty #unique #differentlyabled #differentlyabledmodel #disability #disabilityawareness #thisability
Bernard has a simple yet powerful message to the fashion brands out there,
“Our models are here and they are just waiting for someone to present them with opportunities for them to come out and shine.”
When asked about the challenges they face, Bernard just said that simply, it’s common for clients to not understand the need nor the products they put out. It’s inspiring to see their perseverance however, as he said they WILL continue doing what they do and eventually people will understand their aim. DON Management is set to include members of the younger generation with the same conditions and set them on this path towards acceptance. Their mega clients have been Toyota and Uniqlo, and they were also a part of the recent Selangor Fashion Week!
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DON X Khatreena It was an extravaganza first day in “Selangor Fashion Week 2019” to be able to kickstart with designer @khatreena.ms . A truly special collaboration and an unforgettable runway walk for our models! 🎉🎉🎉 (Say tuned for more pictures/videos from this memorable event!) #Selangorfashionweek2019 #Sfw19 #DONmanagement #DONmodels #DONmanagementmodels #teamDON #talentagency #modelagency #modellingagency #firstinmalaysia🇲🇾 #models #modelling #photoshoot #inclusivity #inclusivitymatters #inspiration #empowerment #diversity #opportunity #novelty #unique #differentlyabled #differentlyabledmodel #disability #disabilityawareness #thisability
To get to know about this agency who’s breaking barriers every single day and being the best at what they do, follow them at:
Facebook: DON Management
Instagram: DON Management
It’s really inspiring to see youngsters doing something so inspiring and trying to make their mark in the modelling industry. A lot of people preach on inclusivity on social media but kudos to this agency on actually getting the work done. Here’s wishing them greater successes in the future!
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