Featured, Local News

Schaffer starts modeling career

By Victoria Gaither

Rutland’s Stefanie Schaffer signed with a modeling agency, Zebedee Talent, this year— an agency for people with disabilities and differences. Right away, she was signed with SKIMS, an American shapewear and clothing brand.

“This campaign for SKIMS’ new adaptive collection, where they redesigned their previous “fits everybody” collection to make them accessible to those with limited mobility like me,” said Schaffer, 26.

Courtesy Stefanie Schaffer
Stefanie Schaffer, 26, of Rutland, who lost both of her legs in a boat explosion in the Bahamas, is now modeling for the shapewear company, SKIMS.

Schaffer’s life changed after taking a family vacation in the Bahamas when a boat she was on exploded, causing her to become a bilateral amputee.

From then on, buying clothes and women’s intimates was a challenge.

“Before my accident, I definitely never thought to consider how someone with a disability might connect with clothing,” Schaffer said. “Getting dressed seems like such a simple task until suddenly, as a result of some injury or diagnosis, you can’t do it the same way any longer.”

Schaffer said the new adaptive collection designs are flexible, “in these new designs, a hook and eye closure system was added to the front of bras and sides of underwear to make them easier to get on and off.”

Coming to terms with her new body was a process. How she views beauty has changed.

Courtesy Stefanie Schaffer

“My definition of beauty has completely changed — from only a physical term — to beauty coming from our uniqueness, from confidence, and kindness, and embracing the characteristics that we love about ourselves,” Schaffer said.

Admitting she would never look the same as others, she said, “I gave myself permission to allow myself to be my unique self and find beauty and acceptance in that.”

Stacey Bender, Schaffer’s mother, has seen change and growth in her daughter.

During the photoshoot, she recalled a moment, “I overheard her telling the photographer to please not photoshop any of her scars.”

This is just one example of how far the Schaffer has come from that boating accident.

Courtesy Stefanie Schaffer

She shared some of the SKIMS photos with her Instagram fans, and the reaction was positive. Most women congratulated her on making a difference and putting herself out there for others to see.

“Everyone deserves to feel good about themselves,” Schaffer said. “There’s something about being comfortable in how you look that day that I think makes you brave.”

SKIMS is co-founded by Kim Kardashian and Jens Grede.

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