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Juggling your studies is often hard enough but one would-be lawyer has used her spare time to become the first disabled model to be used by a high street retailer to feature in its advertising campaigns.
Legal Practice Course (LPC) student Shannon Murray took part in a photo shoot for Debenhams last week to promote the store’s recently launched Principles by Ben de Lisi fashion range.
She said: “It was a really fantastic experience. I’ve been on lots of shoots before but this one in particular really challenges misconceptions about disability.”
Murray has had to use a wheelchair since the age of 14, after breaking her neck during a holiday in Lanzarote.
“After the accident I was in hospital for a long time and people kept telling me that I would have to go to a ‘special school’ but I wouldn’t go to one and ended up finding one with disabled access. I had to do my GCSEs with only three months schooling,” she admitted.
She became a model after winning the first modeling competition for disabled people in 1994 and now works for a modeling agency called VisABLE, which specialises in finding work for disabled models and actors.
But modeling is just one string to Murray’s bow. She works full-time in a legal department of a media company and is currently studying for her LPC at BPP Law School.
“I’ve always wanted to go into media law because my parents both worked in the music industry. Initially I thought about going to the bar but access to chambers is so terrible that I decided on studying to be a solicitor instead,” she explained.
Murray said that studying for the LPC part-time and juggling a career at the same time as her modeling and acting commitments is often exhausting but demonstrates that she’s got what it takes to be a great solicitor.