This is the story of Fuchsia Samantha Carter .. known as Lady Fuchsia

“I’ve always loved to perform. When I was between the ages of 16-18, I belonged to drama school. At the time, I was very overweight, and as a result of this I was incredibly shy. I started life modelling (posing nude for artists while they draw you) to try to overcome my insecurities and build my confidence levels.”

“To begin with I modelled fully clothed, and although I wasn’t yet ‘baring all’, I found it really helped me to accept my body. When I became disabled at 26 years of age, I lost myself completely and became trapped – not only in the chair, but also in my own head. I began to hate my body and would change in the dark and never in front of people. I would close my eyes when my carers washed or showered me. I couldn’t bear to acknowledge my physical state.”

“In 2015, after losing a significant amount of weight, I had a bad fall which kept me in hospital over Christmas. During this period I thought long and hard about my life, and the role I had to play in this world. I felt like a drain on society. I felt like it wasn’t fair for people to have to look after me, just because of this one incident that had changed my life forever.”

“But then it dawned on me; I had to get out of the negative headspace I was in, and start to view and use my body positively. A friend of mine told me I I looked beautiful and that I should go back to life modelling. I laughed at her when she said it, but after thinking about it long and hard, I decided she was right. I would also love to add the amazing nurses at Eastbourne District Hospital kept telling me to keep going to fight that I meant something. One nurse had a stern word with me and then hugged me. I needed it. I needed that human connection.”

“However, I have lost out on many modelling jobs because of my disability. Once employers find out the chair is a permanent thing and not a prop, it changes their perception of me. It like I’m not allowed to be naked, because I do not fit the normative mould. I blame the media for perpetuating and promoting this one dimensional representation of the body.”

“But I have also lost out on normal acting jobs also. Again, when they find out the wheelchair is not a prop for the audition I get all the questions like: Are you able to act? How will you cope with the long hours? I’m not sure we have wheelchair access.”

“It really is all bullshit. It’s so heart breaking. i am a trained actor and yet I can not use my training because of the closed mind of those in casting .. and yet they are willing to put to put an able bodied person in a wheelchair. Something we call ‘crippingup’ and want awards and all the adulation, as if they have done the world a favour.”

“I have applied for countless auditions this year so far, but three have really stuck in my head for all the wrong reasons. They all asked for Disabled actors. It was in the brief, they wanted to include us. On stage and in film. But when I asked about access to the audition space, I was told it was not for people with limited to no walking ability. I was struck speechless. Here were casting directors asking for disabled actors and yet they did not want my sort of disabled people!”

“I really do feel they were just trying to tick boxes and really had no desire to cast or even audition any disabled people. I also feel that they didn’t think disabled actors would apply. They wanted to seem to be sticking to the equalities act, but had not thought anything through.”

“It is a sad state of affairs when casting directors don’t realise that wheelchair using actors actually exist.”