In late October, I was invited to model in Tokyo for Ginza Fashion Week on behalf of The International Dwarf Fashion Show. I’ve been looking forward to working with these guys for a couple of years, and when they suggested I attend as their ambassador I was more than thrilled. I wouldn’t have minded if I was walking the shortest catwalk in London, but the fact it was Tokyo made the experience all the more exciting. This was a culture I longed to immerse myself in.

The long flight to Tokyo was really taxing on my body, but the disability assistance service was second to none. I’ve never flown alone before, and this was a test. My ADHD & anxiety was surprisingly mild considering the length of the journey, but if it wasn’t for the ground staff at all the airports, I would have had a very different experience.

When I finally arrived at Narita International airport, I punched the air, smiled wide, and then checked to see if anyone had seen…! Feeling proud as punch I’d travelled this far alone, and survived!  After a 90 minute shuttle ride, I arrived at my hotel in Shinagawa; south of Tokyo.

I had a bucket list of things I wanted to see whilst in Toyko. Saying that, the only images I had were stereotypical: Sumo, geisha and street filled sushi bars. Had time permitted, I would have liked to have checked out Omotesabdo Shopping Avenue (apparently it’s Toyko’s chicest fashion street, synonymous with high end shopping and modern architecture)!  I’m not the greatest artist, but I do like to draw architectural buildings to give me inspiration for my fashion and design sketches.

Tokyo at night is awash with illuminated flickering lights. The one place I desperately wanted to visit was Harajuku & Shibuya crossing where ‘Haute Couture meets tradition and youthful street fashion’. I ventured up the Shibuya Hikarie 34-story tower for my compulsory tourist snap.

several models lining up on a red carpet

So, onto my fashionable bit!! The day of the fashion show started with hair and makeup, then a trip to Asakusa Senso-Ji Temple for the first photo shoot, set against a huge backdrop. It was a beautiful experience; lots of local people were going about their business and we managed to meet three beautiful ladies dressed up in Geisha costume… An opportunity to get the camera out! The locals didn’t seem too surprised by six women with dwarfism taking to the area. Yes, there were photo opportunity requests. But the requests were polite and respectful.

Mary walking down the runway with a huge smile on her face

More hair and makeup was a necessity before the fashion show, but I will let you see for yourself what you make of the greatest little people catwalk in the world. Japanese people are one of the most welcoming I have personally met, and are not terribly phased by disability or difference from what I experienced. I would return in a heartbeat if I could!

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To watch the fashion show, please click here: https://youtu.be/vJ5FHj_VTsQ

 

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