“Growing up, I was obsessed with fashion. I knew I wanted to be in this field,” says model Kiara Marshall. Having lost a leg in a car accident at 10 years old, she rarely saw women who looked like her in magazines or on runways — a detail that only made her more determined. “I decided that I was going to be the person that I needed to see,” she says. And she did just that.
Now, in addition to modeling for labels like Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, and Savage X Fenty, Marshall also makes a point of sharing her own, self-shot images with her followers, proudly showing off her prosthetic leg. And while the countless professional photographs in her portfolio are certainly compelling, her selfies are equally — if not more — inspirational. “I think selfies are an art form, for sure,” she says. “It’s kind of like this alternate form of storytelling; you can show up how you want and just be happy with who you are. Just be yourself and that’s enough.”
@refinery29 Model and scholar Kiara Marshall really wants you to think hard about selfies. #GalaxyZFlip4 #ad ♬ original sound - Refinery29
Of course, like with any art form, Marshall knows that getting the shot isn’t always quite as easy as it looks. Fortunately, she has some sage selfie advice for the rest of us. “Get comfortable taking pictures of your outfit, or take a mirror selfie covering your face and then work your way up to a full-blown face selfie,” she says. “Baby steps!”
Outside of modeling, Marshall moonlights as a casting assistant and a graduate student, working toward a degree in Disability Studies — a subject she’s clearly passionate about, given her own journey as an amputee. “As a disabled person learning about disability as a whole, I’m able to put these things that I’m learning into practice,” she says, explaining that her goal is to use her platform “to shed light on some issues that continue to happen within the disability community.” And while a long and difficult battle, for Marshall, it can start with something as simple as a selfie. “Getting to show up as myself, authentically and proudly, and to just take up that space as a disabled Black woman is so powerful,” she says.
For that reason, we’ve partnered with Google to chat with Marshall about all things fashion, representation, and, of course, pro selfie tips. Watch the video above for more advice from the one and only Kiara Marshall.