A student at Saint Benedict CVA is set to be pictured by a celebrity photographer as part of a campaign to promote beauty in diversity after she appeared in Vogue Italia.
Kimberley Leech was diagnosed at birth with albinism which means there is an absence of pigmentation in her skin, hair and eyes and she is registered visually impaired.
The 15 year old is keen to raise awareness of the congenital condition and has been invited to take part in a campaign which is to be shot by photographer, Nicola Favaron, to promote beauty in diversity.
Nicola has photographed stars including Dua Lipa and Keith Flint, the Prodigy singer who recently passed away, and has worked with brands such as Adidas and MTV and magazines including Rolling Stone.
The invite came after Kimberley appeared in Vogue Italia as part of a series of articles to tie in with International Women’s Day.
The teenager, who is studying for her GCSEs, said she felt overwhelmed when she saw the images of herself.
She said: “The photos in Vogue came about after I signed for a modelling agency called Zebedee Management, who only represent disabled people. I did a portfolio of photos and a couple of jobs came up which I couldn’t do because I was busy with exams and other things.
“Then I was asked by a photographer, Sophie Mayanne, to do some photos. I later found out that it was to do with a project called ‘I am the woman I am’ with Fantabody, of Milan, in collaboration with Vogue Italia. Sophie came to my house and we did the shoot there. We did some shots in my living room, back garden and on my driveway. It was great because she made me feel at ease and the shoot showed me the hard work of modelling and getting the lighting right to get the right shot.
“After that, Sophie emailed my mum and said Fantabody wanted me to do an interview and that I was the youngest person they had used for the campaign. I was surprised about it and couldn’t believe it was for Vogue Italia. I was shocked.”
Kimberley said she couldn’t believe it when she saw the photos of herself online.
She said: “I checked the Vogue Italia website and it was all in Italian so I couldn’t understand it so I kept scrolling and when I saw the photos and my interview I rang my mum and cried I just couldn’t believe it! I was then invited to London for a photoshoot with Nicola Favaron who has taken pictures of celebrities like Dua Lipa and worked on campaigns with Adidas. All I know is that he would like me to be on a trampoline outside against an evening backdrop.
“I was diagnosed with albinism at birth and it is my goal, as a model, to raise awareness of this condition as it is very misunderstood.”
Kimberley is planning on studying A-levels at Saint Benedict CVA sixth form before attending university and her ambition is to become a journalist as well as continuing to model.
Mr Gritton said everyone was proud of Kimberley. He said: “Kimberley is a fantastic student who is working extremely hard towards her GCSEs and we know that she will be an amazing ambassador for albinism. The campaign with Vogue Italia at such a young age is incredible but she has taken it all in her stride. We are sure that she will go on to even greater things.”
Kimberley’s mum, Debra, said: “I’m so incredibly proud of Kimberley and how professionally she handled the photoshoot with Sophie and her inspiring and honest answers in her interview regarding her albinism. This opportunity has done wonders for her confidence which has been rock bottom at times in the past. Whilst she’s making a fab model she’s still my little girl that needs to unstack the dishwasher!”