Spinal Cord Injury Superstar: Sophie Morgan

Armed with a stunning face (despite needing major reconstructive surgery after her injury), a sexy voice (love her British accent), and a no-fear attitude that has no problem making people feel uncomfortable to shatter stereotypes, Sophie Morgan, model, artist and TV presenter, has been on one mission since her car accident at the age of 18 – to change how the world perceives disability.

Why she’s fearless

Sometimes plans need to be repurposed after a SCI, and that was the case for Sophie Morgan. She was planning on going to law school, but when she woke with a T6 spinal cord injury she decided law wasn’t for her, and went on to pursue art.

This is when her life began to evolve. Sophie was offered a free ride to study Fine Art at Goldsmiths University in London, and she had her first solo show in 2004. The following year she was asked to be on the reality show Beyond Boundaries, where they take disabled contestants on treks across extreme environments. In this case it was Nicaragua. The show put Sophie on the media radar in the UK.

After coming home from Nicaragua (and having to be on bed rest for three years), she was asked to be on another reality show, Britain’s Missing Top Model, a show where disabled women compete for a modeling contract.  She got second place, and this was where she began to really feel strongly about changing the way disability is perceived via the media.

After Britain’s Missing Top Model, and finding that few doors were opened in the fashion world to disabled models despite what the show tried to do, she went on to found the “IMperfect” campaign, highlighting models with disabilities in still photos. She also created MANNEQUAL (mannequins + equal), a wheelchair for mannequins, to make sure PWD are fully-represented in media. And a big career boost – Sophie also was asked to be a TV presenter after being on this reality show.

With the 2012 Paralympics held in the UK this year, Sophie was one of the BBC reporters covering the games (watch her in action here). She’s also spreading her reporting wings into other areas, including reporting on important disability-related issues, like this great piece she did on disabled UK children not getting adequate wheelchairs.

What’s next?

Sophie’s latest project is being an ambassador for Rex – the amazing $150,000 walking suit from New Zealand been getting tons of buzz. You can watch a report by her while IN the suit, and see what it was like for her to use it for the first time (and hug her bf!) here.

And this lady hasn’t forgot her first love, her art. Sophie has a studio in Convent Garden where she works on commissioned pieces and new ways to showcase disability in unexpected ways. View her portfolio

Did you change your career after your injury? How have you worked to change perceptions of disability? Have you ever met Sophie Morgan?

Watch Sophie Morgan’s videos!

Sophie Morgan gives an 8 minute INK talk (similar to TED) on the perception of disability

Sophie Morgan uses the Rex walking suit in her apartment (with her bf!)

Sophie Morgan’s BBC reporter profile for the 2012 Paralympics

Sophie Morgan reporting for the BBC on the Paralympics (asking fans which athletes they think are cute)

Sophie Morgan reporting on the dire need of power chairs for children in the UK

Sophie Morgan on Entertainment Tonight Canada talking about Britain’s Missing Top Model and adaptive fashion

Sophie Morgan talks about her art career and her work

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