How I overcame disability to pursue my passion in modelling

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The story of Marion Jacklin

‘You can only understand how someone’s struggles with a particular problem if you have
lived with it yourself. Empathy only gives you the slightest understanding, which apparently is some sort of imagination of feelings of the other person’s pain.’


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The story of Marion Jackline, The Supermodel

‘You can only understand how someone’s struggles with a particular problem if you have
lived with it yourself. Empathy only gives you the slightest understanding, which apparently is some sort of imagination of feelings of the other person’s pain.’

”One thing I thank God, of course after so many years of suffering and arriving to my understanding, is that I am not a complete deaf. My world would have been of absolute silence and I wonder what I would be today,”  

My name is Marion Jackline Akinyi from Matayos, Busia County. I am hearing impaired (partially deaf).  I was affected at the age of 4 when I was administered with a quinine medication while suffering from malaria. It is common for little ones at such an age to get affected by deafness with such a medication or just malaria itself, if not carefully monitored during administration.

School Life

I was privileged to attend primary school at Busia Airstrip Primary School and St. Teresa’s Girls Primary Day and Boarding School, both in Busia County.

Sadly, my life in primary school was the toughest of a challenge, with the lack of hearing aids to support my hearing, I  was a typical failure in all my classes, because I would really struggle to hear what the teachers said.

In high school, my one and only left hearing aid got spoiled in Form 1 during the very 1st midterm. I struggled  through the rest of my secondary education without it since I couldn’t afford another one then. with the hearing challenge not manageable, I resorted to just studying my notes and textbooks, sometimes ahead of the teachers so that I keep my performance stable.

The Late Mrs. Ayodi (may her soul rest in peace) who was my favorite Art teacher and the school principal noticed my challenge and asked that I seat in the front row middle column of the classroom so that I could be closer to teachers and hear everything; I can confirm that even with this I still had to struggle quite a bit, it wasn’t easy.

Marion Jacklin on Mcensal School of Fashion Design Runway

My stint at modelling

How then did I join modelling being a shy, young and partially deaf girl?

We all know that being on that highly raised ramp as a runway model requires super confidence, or else one can stumble and go flying over to the audience!

I was encouraged by most friends to join modelling after I joined college. Apparently, I had everything required to be termed and accepted as a model, thanks to my special parents. My friends insisted that I was endowed a model that cat-walked naturally; by the way i walked.

This reminded me of how girls admired my walking style in high school and they would always stare at me with admiration and smiles whenever I passed around them. It really felt good when they would comment on how they liked my walking style.

With my college friends encouraging me and believing that I can make a great runway model, my self esteem gradually started growing. I began looking beyond my disability and took a confident stint at modelling out of the encouragement from my friends.  Beautiful words from others can be such powerful and influencing, aren’t they?

Several years down the line, I have been in a number of fashion shows and beauty pageants, gradually taking time to perfect my walk, turns, speech, fashion attitude, smile to audience and so much more.

Regardless of my impairment, I have managed to scoop a number of modelling titles including;

    • Miss Governors Lounge, Busia, 1 st R-Up 2015,
    • Miss Street Catwalk, Nairobi, 1st R-Up 2016,
    • Miss Tourism Kenya 2018, Busia  County 1st R-Up 
    • Female Model of the year BUSTA Awards 2018

I am also the reigning Miss Disability Kenya ,Deaf Category 2018/2019.

I have had the opportunity to work with a number of high-end fashion and modelling events such as Face of Westgate Fashion, Mcensal School of Design Fashion event, Tatianna Bridal show, Ankara Fashion Festival 2015 & 2016 and still pursuing many more.

A person with disability suffers more self-esteem issues than one without. Because of this, that people living with disabilities have to struggle with both the disability and self-image/esteem. This is exactly  what I went through in my life, before I finally decided to stand up for myself and be A STRONG WOMAN in the recent years. 

However, it wasn’t as easy as it sounds; I didn’t just wake up changed in a night. I had to deal to manage a lot of stuff such as building my social life, interacting with a few friends, learning to smile every morning before a day starts, facing my fears and most importantly adding knowledge in my little head by reading a lot interesting articles and novels.

‘DREAM BIG DREAMS’.

To young ladies aspirirng to be models one day; It is not easy to get up there and start working with high-end fashion houses as a model.  Dream of that which scares you everyday.

My daily mantra is, ‘DO NOT BE AFRAID TO FAIL’.

A successful winner is one who tries and tries and feels like s/he has reached a stumbling block and cannot go past it. If you reach your stumbling blokc, know you are almost there; find a way around it and keep moving, because when you stop, your life stops, your happiness stops, your determination stops, your dreams as well and your future ends there.

Be patient, believe in yourself  and look beyond the challenges. You do not have to sleep with an organizer or a judge in exchange of a crown. It will shame and haunt you when the truth comes out and no blessings come with that.

Word to established models

What is a crown to you if you don’t serve the purpose of why you won it? Do not just use
it for photo shoots and end it there. Strive to achieve the goals of that particular pageant organization and use the crown to grow yourself beyond.

There’s a reason why we are placed right here on earth, in as much as we fail to understand why we suffer a lot!

I’ll leave you with a  parting shot from Oprah Winfrey’s best moving advice;
“The Greatest Adventure is to live the Life of your Dreams.”

If you don’t dream, then your life is meaningless.

There is a purpose in your life and you must find it. There has to be something that keeps you standing up, collecting your broken pieces and rising higher. That is what life is.

You don’t just wake up, eat 3 meals a day, the day ends and you head back to sleep!

We have many years of eating to live.
DREAM IT !! LIVE IT !!

Marion Jacklin,  in a nutshell:
1. Hearing Impaired beauty,
2. A Supermodel {High Fashion and Beauty Pageant}
3. A Graphic and Web designer,
4. A Drawing and PaintingArtist
6. A Dancer
7. An aspiring Singer

Marion Jacklin is a qualified professional Graphic Designer, graduated from the Technical University of Kenya and here are few samples of her artworks.

Find her on Facebook: Marion Jacklin

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