Woman with a bionic arm shares inspirational body positive message on her wedding day
Rebekah Marine, a model and motivational speaker, was born missing part of her right arm. She was born with symbrachydactyly, a congenital limb abnormality, but said that she grew up in a "bubble," never bullied for her disability as a child. However, things started to change as she grew older.
As an adult, she became insecure as she found others would frequently ask about her disability, drawing attention to it in a way she wasn't used to. But things turned around once she got a prosthetic arm at the age of 22. With newfound confidence, she soon started a modelling career, and one day found herself walking the runway at New York Fashion Week, known as the 'Bionic Model'.
Starring in campaigns for the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Nordstrom, the 31-year-old usually wears a black prosthetic arm, but decided to step up her game for her wedding day. Marrying her medical student partner, Jared, she decided to make her wedding even more special with a new arm.
"I knew when I got engaged that I wanted a wedding arm - I wanted to do something special. The whole point of wearing it was to draw attention to it. I wanted people to see it and notice it because I am proud of where I am right now.
"Originally I had liked the idea of white, but I realised you might lose it with the white of my wedding dress. A friend suggested gold and that tied in to my white wedding colours, and the challenge then was finding the right shade of gold because I didn't want to look like C3PO.
"It was a long process getting it right but it's such a cool piece. It's really beautiful. It has sparkles in it and it glistens in the sunlight. I debuted it on my wedding day and everyone was in awe because most people don't realise prosthetics can be customized."
She was worried that she would drop the bouquet, as her arm was held by her father as she walked down the aisle, but it worked out as "the best day ever", reflecting that "it's awesome to see how far I've come".
She didn't give up the customized arm straight away either, alternating it with her regular black prosthetic currently, and wearing it for her latest shoot for Parfait, a lingerie brand that promotes body positivity.
Marine shared more of her story on Instagram, and touched on her honeymoon too, writing:
"I would wear sunglasses and I could see everybody staring at me because they didn't know I was looking at them. It was cool to see people staring at it in awe.
The gold arm makes me more approachable. It draws a lot more attention and the whole point of wearing it is to draw attention to it. I want people to ask questions and I want to educate people about it.
We all can't be Kim Kardashian, realistically, so we have to learn to embrace our uniqueness. It is so important to talk about the differences we all have."
Rebekah's point seems to be that hiding what makes us different, or the parts about ourselves we consider to be flaws, is not healthy. Celebrating what we are, rather than what we mistakenly believe we should be, is the ultimate goal.