Anna Schultz-Friends Facing Lake

Scoliosis in the Public Eye

As June is Scoliosis Awareness Month, myself and my fellow HC Nottingham editor-in-chief, Ellie, wanted to use our platform to discuss the illness. We have both suffered with scoliosis since being diagnosed in our early teens and, like many others, became self-conscious of how our scoliosis appeared to others. In reality, despite having met each other on many occasions, neither of us realised the other had scoliosis until Ellie decided she wanted to share her story. This highlighted to us how visually unnoticeable the condition really is most of the time! It is comforting to me now to discover others with scoliosis, however, I spent years feeling like I was the only one with the condition. One thing I certainly didn’t realise growing up is that even celebrities who are promoted as perfect, beautiful examples of the human race suffer with scoliosis too. In fact, the NHS report that 3-4 in every 1000 children need treatment for the condition meaning that it is far from rare. Therefore, I want to use Her Campus Nottingham’s platform to share some of the familiar faces who battle with scoliosis and hopefully help people who, like Ellie and I, felt or still feel very alone in their journey.

The Model

Victoria’s Secret Angels are renowned for their seemingly perfect bodies, faces and hair. Even some of the worlds most successful models including Gigi and Bella Hadid and Jasmine Tookes were rejected by the lingerie brand once or twice before finally landing a job.  The Victoria’s Secret Runway is clearly coveted in the fashion world which is why I was so surprised to discover that one of their models had the condition which had made me feel inferior for so long. Martha Hunt does great work spreading awareness of scoliosis and uses her platform to share the stories of other’s who are suffering with the impairment. The model’s  Instagram account is flooded with images of her own scoliosis and scar as well as images of many other scoliosis sufferers, leaving anyone who views it feeling much less abnormal and alone. 

The Princess

When she got married in October 2018, the world’s eyes descended on Princess Eugenie’s wedding dress. At a glance, the dress is lovely with a low cut back. A nice design, it seems. However, on closer inspection, you can see a scar running from the nape of her neck and down her spine from the surgery she had to correct scoliosis aged 12. Rather than shamefully trying to cover the impairment and subsequent scar like so many scoliosis sufferers, Princess Eugenie deliberately sought out a dress that showed off her scar. The royal explained that ‘it's a lovely way to honour the people who looked after me and a way of standing up for young people who also go through this’. Thanks to this wedding dress, I saw scoliosis discussed on TV and in mainstream media for the first time in my life! So, by choosing to showcase her scar, Princess Eugenie started a conversation on an illness that so many people suffer with but usually try to hide and helped many people to accept their condition.

The Athlete

Okay, so, she’s not technically an athlete, but, Gabby Allen probably could be, and she certainly looks like one! The Love Island star shared that she, too, underwent spine correcting surgery at age 12 on her Instagram story. It is clear to see that she never let her impairment restrict her as she notes that she won a ballet championship just six months after her major operation! The professional dancer turned personal trainer has proved time and time again that you can have scoliosis and still be flexible, active and strong, inspiring young teens who feel they will be limited in their life choices by the condition.

I have always found it comforting to find others who have had similar experiences and I hope that, if you are struggling with the impact of scoliosis on your self-esteem, these three famous women will empower and help you to feel less alone in your diagnosis. Remember, you are completely normal!