Latvia-born singer and model Viktoria Modesta may have not had the easiest start in life but she's now living proof that perseverance pays off.
"I had an accident at birth through doctor’s negligence, resulting in my leg having damaged nerves and restricted growth. This set off a whole series of reconstructive surgeries from the ages of 6 to 12," Modesta explained to Australian Human Rights organization "Right Now" recently. "In that period while treating some of the issues (for example, three lengthening operations) various other problems would arise – leading to more surgery, totalling 13 operations in six years."
After years of unsuccessful procedures, Modesta and her family decided to move to London, England in the hopes of finding a treatment.
Modesta continued to experience more of the same setbacks she faced back in Latvia. Finally, after several more failed surgeries, she made the big decision to amputate her leg, just below the knee.
"At the age of 15, it all came to a head with the realization that in order to live the life I wanted and to realize all my aspirations, I had to spend some time fixing my body," she explained. "I decided that a life of reconstructive surgeries with many risks and no guarantees was not something I was prepared to go through, and it was time for me to take back control of my body, future and health. Five years later, after numerous appointments with doctors, I had finally convinced them with the support of my own research that [partial amputation] was the only option for me."
It changed her life. For the first time ever, Modesta was free of pain and health risks. With a new confidence and focus, she put all her efforts into launching her singing career.
Her new single "Prototype," was released this month and it's already making waves, showing off Modesta and her bionic leg in all its glam glory.http://youtu.be/jA8inmHhx8c
"For a long time, pop culture closed its doors on me as an amputee and alternative artist," said Modesta. "I have never felt comfortable thinking of myself as disabled and this has inspired me to actively challenge old-fashioned views."
The video was released in collaboration with The Alternative Limb Project and Channel 4's #BornRisky campaign and is having people rethink the term "disability."
"It’s a point which a lot of people misunderstand when approaching the subject of physically disabled people in the real working world. Being good at what you do should have no exceptions, whether you are missing arms and legs or not, it’s about your skills. So I would like to think that my success so far has been attributed to hard work and general determination in life – and not my limbs, real or not."
Modesta used her amputation to improve herself for the better and refused to let it dictate her life. And now, she has become an inspiration for so many.
"Disability shouldn't be a shock or a rarity," Modesta continued. "It should be just as acceptable to see a disabled person on TV as other minority groups of race, sexual orientation, etc. The time for boring ethical discussions around disability is over."