After a decade of perseverance and struggle against an acute transverse myelitis (ATM) that confined her in a wheelchair, Canarian Patricia Santana, 21, has eventually achieved her lifelong dream: becoming a catalog model. Canarian fashion magazine Vangard and its chief editor Alicia Larcada have given her an opportunity after having listened to her compelling story. Pretty inside and outside, bubbly and humble, Patricia knows how to pose in front of Pepe Páez’s camera, she is charming and she has got an exemplary vitality and innate talent that she will enhance over a year training programme of image, personal shopper and protocol.
Able to succeed
21-year-old Canarian girl Patricia Santana, in wheelchair, achieves her dream to become a model / ‘Society must open its mind, no more taboos, we can be models’, Santana underlines.
LA PROVINCIA / LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA, 4 October 2014
The first time in the limelight of a professional photo shooting, bestowed by Canarian fashion magazine Vangard. At Pepe Páez’s studio the initial nerve-wracking moments gave way to a mesmerising smile. At the end of September, Gran Canaria-born Patricia Santana, 21, at last made her dream of being part of fashion industry come true, with an exemplary vitality and eagerness to get better, after facing an acute transverse myelitis (ATM) that confined her in a wheelchair when she was 11. Able to succeed, in the flesh Patricia’s humility and beauty win people’s hearts. She exudes happiness, inner peace, and she whispers words of encouragement to others who are in the same situation, that does not make any difference, except for the difference that society makes, which is still unable to see her talent.
“I’ve been closed so many doors, in fact they told me to do anything else, because it was tricky, but I kept on striving and I met Alicia Larcada and Vangard magazine, that have given me this opportunity and I’m so thankful”, the Canarian model affirms. “Society must open its mind, no more taboos, we are so bigoted in that sense, and we can be models of a lot of things”, she stresses.
For Patricia this is the best present for her 21st birthday. “This has been always her dream, to be appreciated for her capacity”, her mother Maripino Santana proudly defends. “I’ve been always curious about fashion industry since I was 12, when I began to do my make up and I was told ‘why don’t you go to castings’. I hope to do this for a living as long as I can, down-to-Earth and at short term”, Patricia explains. After having studied at Primary School CEIP Atlántida and Seconday School IES Siete Palmas, this Canarian beauty will start to be trained as a model thanks to Canarian agency +Qmoda Gran Canaria and Vangard Magazine at Canarian School of Image and Fashion [Escuela Canaria de Imagen y Moda], to acquire knowledge of image and personal shopper, and AC Eventos y Comunicación has bestowed a protocol course on her. “I tell my daughter to take it easy, go bit by bit and be down-to-Earth. Her brother René and she adore each other!”, Maripino points out.
+Qmoda Gran Canaria manager Giovanni Déniz is committed to show Patricia’s photos to potential companies, jewellery shops’s clients, catalogs, beauty (a kind of commercial picture where skin and make up are attention grabbing, and it can be of face, lips, eyes, or other parts of the body). “There is still a lot to do to broaden minds in fashion industry as well. Obviously she cannot walk on the catwalk, pose upright, jump, but for beauty, catalog, she can perfectly do it”, Déniz highlights. Patricia is good at the clothes and accessories changing and she let herself go to pose with the guidance of stylist Zaida Anta, business partner of photographer Pepe Páez.
“Let’s make some movement changes, slightly with the hands, let’s smile a bit now, look at your side, at the other one, don’t look at the camera, that’s it!” [Just in that moment and in profile, Patricia was staring at the floor in a natural way, and she was drawing a broad smile that made people at the studio shout: ‘pretty!’ -‘guapa!’]. Her face is magnetic, cheeky, self-confident and sweet. Patricia has got something sparkling inside and so much potential. And this will not the last time this young talented girl poses in front of a camera. Christmas time is just looming with a surprise awaiting her. “She is gorgeous, so why is the wheelchair a drawback? What really matters is her face and her attitude to pose. She’s got beautiful hair and incredible facial features”, Alicia Larcada highlights. She is the chief editor of Vangard, first Canarian fashion magazine in Spain, that has opened a window to Patricia and has made disabled people’s capacities visible.
Maripino: “I tell my daughter to take it easy and to be down-to-Earth”
Larcada: “She is gorgeous, why is the wheelchair a drawback” What really matters is her face and her attitude to pose”
As a usual reader, one year ago Patricia got in touch with Larcada on Facebook, and her story hit home within the editorial team. Since then and the invitation to Vangard Awards ceremony in November 2013, a friendship was built up between them. There is still so much to do in society regarding accessibility for disabled people. Patricia admires deaf Estefanía Pérez, who was 3rd runner-up to Queen of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Carnival, in the name of Gran Canaria Accesible and Deaf People Association. “She is a role model for me and for everybody, to encourage us to keep going, achieving our goals, and so that people get used to seeing us”, Patricia explains. She wants no condescendence or typical phrases like “Ohh poor flower, what a pity!”, but social commitment.
To bring up a child in a positive way about any kind of disability (physical, mental, hearing or visual) is really needed and Patricia claims this to be established at Primary and Secondary schools. “People in the street look at you, and they also turn around and look at you once again, that’s why they should educate about this and all schools should be adapted”, Patricia underlines. In her day-to-day routines she still comes across physical barriers such as sidewalk, stairs, shops, banks, medical centre, libraries, beach…
Her mother Maripino Santana claims that they were reduced the Dependence Law’s benefit, but she strongly believes that this norm will be reactivated with the proper management and budget. “The State took it away from me, I ask them to help us more, I’ve had to stop working in order to look after my daughter. I’m conscious of the fact that there are quite a few people even in a much worse situation, but she keeps needing my help. If they cut social benefits, they should do it in other areas, not to disabled people community”, Maripino strongly defends.
Patricia would love practicing adapted snorkeling. She likes listening to music and hanging out with her friends. She always dresses smartly and immaculate even to go to buy some bread, and make-up is her soft spot! As internationally acclaimed writer Paulo Coelho affirms in The Alquimist: “Life is generous to those who pursue their dreams”. And Patricia is among them.
Training. The talented young girl has a one year training programme ahead her with several courses of image, personal shopper and protocol. Above lines, Patricia follows the instructions of stylist Zaida Anta.
Innate talent. In front of photographer Pepe Páez’s camera, Patricia Santana shows her innate talent and her self-confidence. Her face is magnetic, cheeky, self-confident and sweet.
It girl ! She admires national and international models such as Ariadna Artiles, Helen Lindes, Irina Shayk and Naomi Campbell. In the picture, Patricia is holding a copy of Vangard magazine.