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Young stroke survivor models social inclusion

Published on 14 November 2019

With Social Inclusion Week (23 November - 1 December) almost upon us, we hear from one of our models, Asha Prasad, who will be participating in our Inclusive Fashion Parade event at Top Ryde City shopping centre.

Asha Prasad was left paralysed following a free neck and shoulder massage at her Sydney workplace resulted in blood clot and stroke. Diagnosed with locked-in syndrome, Asha was only able to move her eyes. Following a period of extensive rehabilitation and sheer determination, she wowed her doctors by regaining increased movement and is now able to use a wheelchair. 

We got in touch with Asha to learn a bit more about her and her involvement in the fashion parade.

What are your main interests and passions?

Asha: I absolutely enjoy painting and being creative artistically. I love how when you are painting, your mind can escape and be free and forget about things for awhile. It’s very therapeutic and relaxing. Painting has helped a lot in my mental well-being, also from a social aspect. It’s a great way of meeting like-minded people. Since being disabled, I have found a new interest that I never knew I had, and that is writing. Again, I love the freedom your mind has when writing and being expressive with words. I have not produced any published works yet, but this will happen one day.

My mother passed away from metastatic breast cancer and I painstakingly saw her suffering and deteriorating fast in health from this horrible disease. So I am very passionate about supporting and fundraising for research about metastatic breast cancer. I recently held a Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Lunch to raise funds. It is my second such lunch and I have started to do fundraising lunches every year.

How did you hear about the inclusive fashion parade and why did you want to be a part of it?

Asha: I joined an under-40s stroke group a few months ago and one of the group coordinators, Julie, asked me if I wanted to be one of the models in a fashion parade for Social Inclusion Week. My first thoughts were mixed - "No! But I’m curious, so, maybe?". It then became, "No! I’m scared, but I’d like to." So I googled Social Inclusion Week to find out more as I have been in Sydney for only a year and moved from New Zealand, so I had never heard about it before. A few emails later to Julie back and forth and I said "YES!"

I love how the fashion parade is including disabled people. Disability is rarely seen in the fashion world so the parade is an event of great significance and is inspirational. It breaks down stereotypes, stigmas, the need to have that perfect body image and embraces everything that we are. It proudly voices the idea that every body is beautiful, and that is what I wanted to be part of.

Have you had any previous experience modeling or working in creative industries?

Asha: I have not had previous modelling experience, and I never ever thought I would have been asked to model in a fashion parade! I have always had an interest in being creative and I have a degree in Advertising and International Business.

I worked in an advertising agency in Neutral Bay 13 years ago where I coordinated a brochure for car dealerships across Australia.

As the fashion parade is being held as part of Social Inclusion Week, why do you think social inclusion is important to you?

Asha: I have body imperfections and insecurities, so to say yes to being a model for the fashion parade was a massive decision for me and means getting out of my comfort zone!

Doing a public event and being on show is daunting just for anyone, but add in being disabled and putting yourself out there is a HUGE challenge. So I congratulate all the disabled models participating in the fashion parade.

We all want to be accepted without judgement and included in communities, that’s just who we are. By being included we make friendships, networks, we feel valued and important. In turn, our feelings of self improvement grows, so does our well being and our self esteem.

What are you most looking forward to at the fashion parade?

Asha: Planning for the fashion parade has taken a few months and I’m looking forward to seeing everything come into fruition!

The Inclusive Fashion Parade will be held at 12.00pm on Sunday 24 November at Top Ryde City Shopping Centre. This is a free event as part of Council's Social Inclusion Week activities.

Last updated on 14 November 2019