Jealous trolls are accusing this New Zealand woman of trying to get a leg up on her competitors.
Cherie Louise — a 29-year-old model who had her left leg amputated after being diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer — boasts more than 70,000 followers on Instagram.
However, some on social media have cruelly accused the beauty of Photoshopping off the limb in order to stand out and book big gigs.
“People on social media often accuse me of faking having one leg and claim that I Photoshop my leg out of my photos for attention,” Louise stated.
“I know their comments are ridiculous and easily disproved, so some might think it’s just funny when people say that … [but] for me, it’s quite annoying, given everything I’ve gone through to survive and get to a point I am now where I’m confident in who I am and what I look like.”
Louise was diagnosed with a bone cancer called osteosarcoma at 6, with doctors telling her she would need to have her entire left leg amputated.
The rare and risky amputation — known as an external hemipelvectomy — also required that half of Louise’s pelvis be cut off, making the use of a prosthetic leg almost impossible.
Therefore, Louise relied on crutches in order to get around, and she became extremely self-conscious about her disability.
“When I was young, I didn’t believe I would get a job, fall in love, have a family or any of those things because I’d never known an amputee who had,” she candidly stated.
“There were countless nights spent crying over photos of myself pre-amputation, questioning why it happened to me, wishing I would wake up one day and have two legs again.
“I always stood out, and that made me eventually retreat from doing things that brought me more attention, like playing sports.”
However, as she entered her twenties, Louise says she found like-minded friends on social media and began sharing snaps of herself online.
“[It] actually played a big part in gaining self-confidence for me because I found the more I put myself out there on social media, the less I cared about how people reacted to me in person,” she explained.
“I [also] found a model with the same amputation as me on Instagram … I remember seeing that she had posted photos of herself in swimsuits and even had photos showing her scars.”
Now, with the modeling world becoming more inclusive, Louise has found herself booking gigs with a number of international brands.
She says she still believes in the positive power of social media, despite the fact she’s persistently trolled.
“I hope to be seen by disabled children who aren’t sure what the future has in store for them,” she stated. “I want to break into the industries that have forever made up stories for us, instead of letting us tell them.
Indeed, Louise isn’t the only disabled model to be securing lucrative work.
Shaholly Ayers, a congenital amputee who was born without her lower right arm, posed for Nordstrom in 2019.
The same year, 9-year-old Daisy-May Demetre became the first double-amputee to walk a New York Fashion Week show.