Some people assume the life of a model must be an easy one, right? You just show up, have your photo taken and get to walk away with plenty of cash. That’s not too bad. Plus, having that as a job means the world considers you to be attractive which naturally comes with its own set of perks. However, all these assumptions about models don’t take into consideration the hardships they face. Their lives are just as difficult as everyone else’s. Paola Antonini is the perfect example of that.
The life of a celebrity
Being a celebrity definitely has its perks. Lots of money, plenty of recognition, and the chance to travel all around the world – we wouldn’t say no to that. Unfortunately, things aren’t as simple as that.
What you see on camera might be glamorous and desirable, but behind the scenes, their lives aren’t necessarily any better than our own. That goes for anyone with a bit of fame, including models. Paola Antonini had what many considered a perfect life, but that all changed when she became the victim of a devastating accident.
Caught on camera
Paola always felt confident about the way she looked. Plenty of people told her that she was beautiful, but their words meant nothing if she didn’t feel attractive inside.
Luckily, her faith in her looks resonated on the outside, making her even more appealing to those who saw her. That’s how she managed to land a modeling contract in her home country of Brazil. She shone on the camera, and not just because she was a pretty woman. Paola had a love for herself that few models possessed.
Taking to social media
As more opportunities for modeling came her way, Antonini found her star rising in Brazil. Soon enough, she was considered a local celebrity, prompting Paola to find any way to boost her following.
That’s when she turned to social media. Sites like Instagram were steadily growing in popularity, and they were an excellent way for her to show herself off while still connecting with fans. The followers flocked to her in their thousands, and soon enough she had one of the biggest fanbases in Brazil. Life was going great.
Tis the season
Paola figured that life would always go her way, but that’s when disaster struck. It was the holiday season, and Antonini was making the most of spending time with her family.
She’d had a wonderful Christmas with her relatives and was looking forward to seeing in the new year with her boyfriend. However, despite the plans the two of them had, Paola ended up spending the night doing something very different than what she’d planned. It was all because of some stranger being intoxicated behind the wheel of his car.
Calling for help
The model was putting her bags into her car when the vehicle came barreling down the road. Before Paola could get out of harm’s way, she was struck hard and her left leg severely damaged. Her boyfriend was quick to call the ambulance, but was it already too late?
Her leg looked to be in a bad way, and Paola was crying out in agony. Once the medical assistance arrived, they rushed the model to the hospital, but even they had doubts about being able to rescue her crushed leg.
Too late to save it
The doctors made four attempts to fix Antonini’s leg, but all of their efforts came up unsuccessful. There was no way to save it, so they had to amputate it. If they didn’t, there was every chance the damage would impact Paola’s health.
They had to cut it just below the knee, leaving her with half a leg after the surgery was over. At that moment, Antonini didn’t care what that meant for her modeling career or the rest of her life; she just wanted the pain to go away.
Back to basics
Once the surgery was over, Paola had the long task of adjusting to life with one and a half legs. She’d have to use a prosthesis if she wanted to be able to walk around properly, and it would take a while to get used to it.
However, Antonini was determined to focus on the positives. She launched straight into physiotherapy and started working on regaining her ability to walk. It took a while, but she soon felt confident being back on her feet. However, that’s when disaster struck yet again.
Returning to surgery
The doctors were concerned about the part of Paola’s leg that hadn’t been amputated and believed it needed to be removed. Other medical professionals that the model spoke to agreed with this, leading Antonini to go into surgery once again.
When she came out, she was down to having just one leg, and it was a hard pill to swallow. Accepting her first amputation had been difficult enough, and now she had something entirely new to get used to. Most people would have crumbled by that point.
Doing it all again
Everything that Paola had learned before the second amputation she now had to go through again. She was essentially back at step one, and it was incredibly frustrating.
The model just wanted to get out there and live her life, but she couldn’t do that until she was stable enough on her feet. Fortunately, every session of physiotherapy made things a little easier, and soon enough she felt confident in her ability to walk. It was time to go back into the world, but was she truly ready for what would happen?
Despite being frustrated by her predicament, Antonini never lost her determination. She knew that the amputation could change everything, but she wasn’t going to let the incident on New Year’s Eve define her.
Nothing said that she couldn’t still be a model after everything she’d been through. Paola simply needed to have faith that things would work out for her. Yes, she’d face struggles in the future because of her disability, but they weren’t anything she wasn’t already capable of dealing with. She could do this.
Love from the fans
Considering the trauma she’d faced, it would have been understandable if the model had shied away from the spotlight while in hospital. However, Paola knew that her fans cared about her wellbeing and she didn’t want them to worry.
So, she used social media to keep her following up to date on everything that had happened. Their words of support kept her going while in physiotherapy and are part of the reason she managed to get back on her feet so quickly. She was doing it for them, as well as herself.
Hitting the catwalk
After leaving the hospital, Antonini kept her head held high and started looking for modeling work again. While some companies felt she no longer had ‘the look,’ others didn’t care about her disability.
If anything, they felt it sent a positive message having someone with an amputated leg modeling their outfits. All it took was for Paola to walk the runway again for everyone to realize that she was still the same woman. One leg or two, the fierce model was just as captivating as she’d always been.
The star of the show
Since returning to the runway, Paola’s career has gone from strength to strength. Any fears that her disability would define her went away almost instantly. In fact, she’s gotten more work now as an amputee than she did before her devastating accident.
Antonini has been involved with campaigns for brands like Under Armour, Neutrogena, and The Body Shop, and the offers keep on rolling in. She’s become one of the hottest models in Brazil, and the confidence she has despite her missing leg just makes people love her more.
Getting the publicity
As Paola became more popular, everyone in Brazil wanted a piece of her. It would have been so easy for the model to crumble after everything she went through, but instead, she came back stronger than ever.
People found that to be genuinely inspirational, and many news publications wanted to sit down with Antonini and hear her story. All those interviews only helped to make her even more famous, especially when she was getting talked about in magazines like Glamour and GQ. There was no stopping this rising star.
Earning her degree
Following her tell-all interview with Glamour Brazil, Paola was offered a job as a columnist for the magazine. Modeling doesn’t keep Antonini busy all the time, and writing a column would give her an opportunity to express herself with words rather than looks.
It’s unsurprising that she took Glamour up on their offer given she was studying a degree in journalism at the time. Clearly she has a love for putting pen to paper, and getting her opinions out there was just as important as strutting down the catwalk.
Putting it out there
As time went on, the love for Paola rose even greater. Whenever she walked the runway or gave an interview, people saw just how strong and passionate she was.
In the latter, Antonini proved to be great at articulating herself, which is how she ended up leading a TEDx Talk in 2017. After everything she’d been through, the model had plenty to talk about. It was her optimism and the way she never gave up, though, that really captivated the audience, leading the video to amass nearly one million views.
Improving her education
With Antonini slowly taking over Brazil, the model realized she had a chance to extend her popularity outside of South America. There were so many people out there she could inspire, she just needed the platform to do it on.
Paola’s English wasn’t too great, so she decided to improve it by returning to school. She spent several weeks in Malta at the Institute of English Language Studies where she made a huge improvement to her speaking capabilities. Being able to talk in English would open many doors for her.
Nothing standing in her way
It’s been several years now since that driver hit Paola, and her life has changed in many ways. However, more often than not it’s been for the better. There was a fear when she lost her leg that she’d never be able to do certain things again.
However, her amputation hasn’t ever stood in the way of her goals. It’s definitely not stopped her from modeling; it’s only added to her prospects. Although Antonini probably wishes she’d never lost her leg, she’s done well for herself without it.
Beautiful inside and out
Having a prosthesis might not have affected Paola’s career prospects, but what about her feelings of self-worth? Antonini was always confident about her looks before the accident and never had a reason to doubt she was attractive.
However, losing a limb can severely impact a person’s perception of themselves. The world would have understood if the model felt self-conscious after the accident. Rather than feeling ashamed of her prosthesis, though, she’s proud of it. It’s a part of her now, and she still feels just as beautiful with one less leg.
Inspiring the world
From the moment she left the hospital, Antonini was hopeful she could be an inspiration to other people with amputations. She wanted to show everyone that losing a limb doesn’t change who you are, and that beauty comes from the inside more than the outside.
Given she’s now racked up 2.6 million followers on social media, it’s safe to say that her message has gotten across. Every day someone new tells the model how much she inspires them to love themselves, and that means the world to her.
A fresh start
Antonini has successfully turned what could have been a life-ending accident into a fresh start. She might have been through unimaginable pain, both physical and emotional, but that just made her into the successful woman she is today.
Although living with an amputation will always have its difficulties, the model now has so many opportunities to make the world a better place thanks to her optimism. Plus, with Paola only being in her mid-twenties, she still has most of her life ahead of her to reap the rewards of her triumphs.