A SPORTY teenager has told how his confidence has soared after he branched out into modelling.
Alfie Woods (pictured), who plays for Wheelchair Wasps powerchair football club at Thrybergh Academy, was born prematurely and developed cerebral palsy.
Until recently, Alfie, of Rawmarsh, suffered with severe social anxiety and was not able to leave the house.
But his confidence has been transformed after signing up with Zebedee Management, a modelling agency which specialises in representing people with disabilities.
Now, Alfie is hoping a client in Rotherham or South Yorkshire might be interested in hiring him as a model.
Alfie’s father, Ian, said: “Alfie has always wanted to work.
“However, he had always been realistic about what jobs he could pursue because of the extent of his disability.
“Alfie had grown up being obsessed by fashion and hair and thought he could put this interest into developing a career.”
Determined to pursue his interests, Alfie was accepted by a London-based agency before transferring to Sheffield-based Zebedee.
His first photoshoot was at Magna earlier this year with Rotherham-based photographer Joanne Place from Creative Images.
Ian said: “He absolutely loved it and showed a confidence he'd never displayed before.
“Joanne captured so many amazing photographs and we were quite taken aback.”
Alfie’s mother, Lou, said modelling had given her son a huge confidence boost.
“It’s kind of given him a focus, a purpose, a self-identity and a sense of worth he didn’t have before,” she said.
“When he sees photographs of himself he sees himself with new eyes and says: ‘I’m not the kid in the wheelchair anymore.’”
Lou said her son’s dream was to model for a top fashion label such as Bee Inspired or 11 Degrees.
Alfie said people were often surprised when they saw him dressed in fashionable clothes.
“They look and they think: ‘How can you look like this?’” he said.
Ian said representing South Yorkshire, especially Rotherham, was important to Alfie.
“Alfie suffers with severe social anxiety and had not long before been unable to even go out of the house because of this,” he said.
“He had lost over three stone in weight and had become seriously ill.
“Seeing him relaxed and happy was just fabulous.
“Alfie isn’t unrealistic about how hard it is to get work — especially in modelling — but he would like the opportunity to work with other photographers from South Yorkshire, especially Rotherham, who may not have had the chance to photograph people with disabilities.
“Alfie’s also waiting for that very first casting call and it would be great if the people of his hometown could get behind him and support him on his journey.”
Pictures from Alfie’s photoshoot can be seen by visiting his Instagram account @alfie_zebedee_model.
Alfie can be booked for jobs via www.zebedeemanagement.co.uk/alfie-w
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