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7-Year-Old With Cerebral Palsy Models in Mini Boden Ad Campaign

By Hanssie on November 8th 2013

As criticism and debate continue to surround magazine ads and the distorted message that the industry perpetuates about body image and beauty, more and more companies are opening up to the idea of diversifying their models that appear in their ad campaigns.

Holly Greenhow, from Cambridgeshire, is an adorable 7 year old with cerebral palsy. She has been chosen to star in the new Mini Boden campaign. Born with athetoid cerebral palsy caused by prolonged oxygen deprivation at birth, Holly’s charming personality and bright smile won the hearts of casting directors for their new ads.


Holly-Greenhow-Mini-Boden-ad-1Two years ago, Holly’s mother, Fiona Greenhow approached Holly’s favorite clothing store about using Holly to model for one of their campaigns. Zena Botha, Boden’s studio shoot and model manager, told Huffington Post:

We are always happy to invite our Mini Boden fans along to model castings,”  “We were delighted that Holly made the cut. Holly was charming and we’re very pleased with the shoot.

Holly is unable to walk or talk, but communicates with a computer system operated by her eyes.  She loves choosing her own clothes and thinks that the funniest person in the world is her “Mummy.”

Holly-Greenhow-mini-boden-ad-4This ad comes on the heels of Debenham‘s diversity campaign, launched a few months ago, which starred models of diverse ages, sizes and looks in their “High Summer Look-Book.” The company transcended the typical gaunt faced Photoshopped models and featured an amputee, three models over 40, a paralympian athlete and a size 18 model in a swimsuit.


Companies such as H&M and Diesel are also eschewing the norm by showcasing models that look like they had more than a leaf of lettuce and a lemon water for lunch.  Diesel recently used “unconventional” models to celebrate the diversity of their creative community. They scoured Tumblr to find “real” people for their fall campaign. H&M also has said that they’ve used models in the past that were “too skinny,” and has promised to use more diverse models in future campaigns.


Hopefully, the use of “normal-looking,” diverse people in ads will be more than just a trend. It’s time to turn society’s media fed, twisted views of beauty and body image into something more healthy and attainable, not an elusive, highly Photoshopped fantasy.

[Rewind: Modeling Dream Comes True for Girl with Down Syndrome]

As for Holly Greenhow, 7 year old model extraordinaire, I wish her the best of luck in future campaigns. Fiona Greenhow hopes that with Holly’s Mini Boden ad, they’ll be able to:

…help the image of disabled children and also open people’s eyes to the fact there are lots of children out there who aren’t perfect.

I don’t know about you, but little Holly Greenhow, with her sparkling smile and charming personality looks just about perfect to me.


What do you think? Should using diverse models in clothing ads become more common? And if, so, do you think it will boost sales? Comment below.

[Via @Huffington Post]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

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