Instagram encourages model diversity with latest campaign

Instagram’s newest initiative #RunwayForAll proves that the social media site has more to offer than flawless filters and an endless stream of model poses and avocados.

The new campaign aims to promote diversity and prove that beauty is more than skin deep.

Every day the app will share the story of a unique model who pushing boundaries and ‘redefining industry standards’, making sure there’s room on the #RunwayForAll.

Among those featured so far are Shaun Ross, a gay male model with albinism and a Haitian model and blogger Mama Cox who had her leg amputated at 18.

“#RunwayForAll means any teenager feels represented when they open a magazine or watch a fashion show,” says Mama Cax (@caxmee). Mama grew up in Haiti, lives in New York City and never aspired to be a model — “not only because there were very few dark models on magazine covers but also because I grew up with very little knowledge of the fashion industry,” she says. “Eight years ago, after getting my leg amputated, the idea of being a model was even more far-fetched.” Today, Mama is modeling and doing other things that she was told there was no audience for, like sharing tips for traveling as a black female amputee. “The majority of humans do not look like the mainstream idea of beauty,” she says. “One of the greatest barriers is not belonging. Through modeling I hope to show that beauty does not always wear a size zero and beauty does not always walk on two limbs.” Every day this week, we’ll be sharing the story of a model who is redefining industry standards and making sure there’s room on the #RunwayForAll. Photo of @caxmee by @simonhuemaen

A photo posted by Instagram (@instagram) on

In Mama’s post she revealed that her dark skin and amputated leg made her feel like an outcast in the fashion industry and she was convinced she didn’t measure up to modern beauty standards.

“The majority of humans do not look like the mainstream idea of beauty,” she wrote. “One of the greatest barriers is not belonging. Through modeling I hope to show that beauty does not always wear a size zero and beauty does not always walk on two limbs.”

Instagram’s campaign follows on from Beyoncé’s decision to feature diversity campaigner and model Jillian Mercado as the face of her Formation merchandise.


Jillian, 28, was born with muscular dystrophy and has been a long time campaigner for greater diversity within the fashion industry.

Despite fronting previous campaigns with the likes of Diesel, she admits she was ‘hesitant’ to take up Beyoncé’s job offer.

“I wasn’t sure about showing everyone my world because I didn’t know if there would be an audience. We’ve been brainwashed [as a society] not to care about someone who has a disability, or their world,” she said.

However, friends convinced Jillian to share her stories and put herself in the spotlight. “A friend told me, ‘Jilly, if anyone needs to write about their experiences, it is you, because I’ve never seen anyone who pushed the stereotypes in a positive way more than you have.’ Her words pushed me to put myself out there.”

Get following @Instagram for daily updates on the campaign.

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