XX minute read

Samanta Almeida Bullock, wheelchair model

Successful in her chosen career, physically active and happy in her personal life. Sam is living proof that a wheelchair does not have to be an obstacle to achieving any of these goals. Born in 1979 in Osorio-Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, Sam’s life changed forever at the tender age of just 14, when a bullet wound left her paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair. 

Before her accident, Sam was a keen tennis player and had been playing the sport for seven years. Her initial experiences with wheelchairs left her feeling very depressed: “The first wheelchair that I was given while still at the clinic was simply terrible. It was much too big and heavy and my legs were positioned too far forward.” However, that was a long time ago. Thankfully there have been many positive changes in the life of this young woman since then. She can now look back proudly at what she has already achieved and has every reason to feel optimistic about the future.

Many people dream of being a model. Not so long ago, a career in modelling would have been completely unthinkable for wheelchair users. However, thanks to brave and confident people like Sam that, the negative perception of wheelchair users that unfortunately still exists in our society is gradually changing, as Sam explains: “As a model, I am subject to exactly the same demands as every other model. In other words, I have to be very disciplined when it comes to my diet, I have to be active, I have to count calories just like other models and, of course, I have to look after my appearance.” In Sam’s case, her wheelchair: a küschall K-Nova, is an integral part of her overall look.

“My wheelchair must suit me as an individual. It should help me to express my personality in front of the camera without dominating the picture too much or deflecting attention away from me. I chose the K-Nova from küschall®, because this wheelchair meets all of my expectations in terms of aesthetics. People aren’t put off in the slightest by the wheelchair in the photo. It becomes insignificant because it is so beautiful. The observer may notice it, but hopefully their attention will then turn back to me.”

Her favourite sports include tennis, swimming and handcycling. For Sam, sport is not just a necessary evil for staying in shape. She is an active individual through and through. She loves moving in water and enjoys handcycling with her Top End XLT Pro.

And if all that wasn’t enough, she accompanies her husband Mark Bullock, in his role as ITF Wheelchair Tennis Manager to numerous tennis events as well as visits to rehabilitation centres, conferences and lectures at universities. She is also supporting Mark in making preparations for the 2012 Paralympics in London.

It always gives us great joy and encouragement to see people with disabilities living fulfilling, varied, confident and happy lives. We hope to see lots more of our customers’ dreams come true. In most cases this happens through a great deal of perseverance and self-discipline, along with a little bit of luck. We are delighted that Sam enjoys an active lifestyle with the küschall® K-Nova that we gave to her on her wedding day in October 2008 (see News archive for the full report).

We wish Sam continued energy, success and happiness in her life. Of course we will keep in contact with her and report back again.

Photos: Lawson Filho / Mariana Borba / Benoist Matsha-Carpentier

February 24, 2016