Six disabled women, who cat-walked for the first time in their life, shared with DTiNews about their experiences after a fashion show featuring disabled people.
"I'm Beautiful, You Too" was the first fashion show to feature disabled women in Vietnamese ao dais. 10 women participated in the show which was held at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi last November.
The concept for the event originated from the Nghi Luc Song Centre and was sponsored by the Australian Embassy, the United Nations and Italian Embassy in Vietnam. The ao dais were designed by beauty queen Ngoc Han, designer Chu La and Italian designer Ricardo.
The next show is set to be held from March 1 to 4 in Hanoi.
Be Thi Bang
I'm from the Tay ethnic group and a dentist in Cao Bang City. Because I could only rent ao dai for special occasions, it never fitted my body properly so I was happy when I was given my own ao dai. I was unable to walk normally after an accident. The show is motivation for me to improve.
At first Ngoc Han said I walked like a soldier so I trained hard. I think that all women are pretty and should be confident. My dream is to design clothes for disabled people and give dental consultancy for people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Nguyen Thi Minh Tam
Nguyen Thi Minh Tam (in green ao dai on the right)
I'm 173cm and I once wanted to become a model. But that dream disappeared after an accident took away one of my legs, so I became a high school teacher. I wanted to help other disabled people view life more positively, that's why I decided to participate in the show with support from families and friends.
I had hoped my ao dai had lotus pattern and one was designed for me by Ngoc Han. My dream to become a model has come true. I still keep that ao dai as a great memory in my life. My friends and I have also established a small charity group to help disabled people too.
Pham Thu Trang
My ao dai has a Long Bien Bridge pattern, a place in Hanoi where I studied and worked. Normally, I'm not comfortable with wearing such tight fitting clothes because my right arm is paralysed. The first time wearing one, I feel strange and happy at the same time. I think wearing beautiful clothes also boosts a woman's confidence.
I hope I can organise a similar event for women from ethnic groups and mountainous areas.
Vu Thi Kieu Oanh
I have weak legs due to bone deformity and often suffer from muscle spasm because of acute pulmonary edema. In the past, I didn't have the courage to wear beautiful clothes or makeup. I just wanted to hide myself away. But now I think that women are most beautiful when they are confident.
My ao dai has an image of Danang’s Marble Mountains and I wore it during the Tet holiday too. I'm studying in order to go to Australia for further education, and so that I can help other people.
Pham Thi Ngoc
Because the left leg has suffered from muscle atrophy, I can't use it at all. I’m also self-conscious about my height too. Participating in the show was the first time I stood in front of a crowd but thanks to encouragement from the audience, I felt confident when the cameras were pointed at me.
I also helped push Vu Thi Duyen’s wheelchair, another model on the catwalk, and we’ve become friends.
Vu Thi Duyen
I had never worn an ao dai so I was nervous. But everyone cheered and encouraged me so I felt really happy. I hope to have good health, so I can help other disabled people too.