At home with Clara Holmes

Clara Holmes knows all about dealing with a new normal and so having fun and living her best life wasn’t going to be disrupted by a pandemic.

“I’m a bit of a wild child. I like to have fun,” says Clara Holmes, aka @RollinFunky. And we can vouch for that – we first met her at our 21st birthday shoot and with Clara in attendance it was as much a party as a shoot. She really is one of those rare people who draw everyone to them when they enter a room or a studio. Maybe it’s something to do with that infectious laugh.

As someone who so obviously thrives in company, Clara acknowledges she learnt a lot about herself during lockdown. “I realise as much as I am a very sociable person, I didn’t mind staying home and had some fun doing so,” she says. “Becoming a wheelchair user and having your world turned upside down has taught me life can change in a blink of an eye beyond recognition. So, always try to have fun and live your best life.”

“The only thing consistent in my day is waking up and having a workout first thing in the morning. After that who knows, there’s always something going on. Each day is different and I’m having to change and roll with it.”

Clara has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which is an inherited connective tissue disorder. It is a very painful condition and Clara has been a full-time wheelchair user for 15 years. Although Clara looks very confident it is something she says she had to work on: “When I first became a wheelchair user I struggled to adjust. I wasn’t a very confident person or happy with my body before, so when I became a wheelchair user the little confidence I had disappeared, and I suffered with depression as I grieved for the old me. Then over time I managed to get myself out of the haze, it was then that I decided to make my life better and for me to live not just exist. I had to accept my new normal, my new body and body shape. It took time but when I did, I became comfortable with it and it was at this point my confidence grew.

Four years ago, Clara launched her blog featuring her love of fashion and style, girl about town lifestyle, veganism and travel as a wheelchair user. A year later Clara was scouted by a modelling agency while out in London and since then has been fulfilling her childhood dream as a model.

“Wearing great lingerie is a great way to boost your confidence. The more fabulous the lingerie, the more fabulous you’ll feel.”

Clara often shares her views on the lack of diversity and representation within the fashion and beauty industry and on the importance of body positivity and self-love regardless of your body’s ability, size or height, gender, colour, or race. “It is so important for us all to have self-love and have a positive internal dialogue with ourselves and representation within the fashion and beauty industry is integral to that,” she says. “The more we normalise seeing different body types the better we will all feel about ourselves. I describe myself as ‘A woman with a disability, not a disabled woman’, because I am a woman first and foremost. I am not my condition and I am not my wheelchair. There is more to me whether I can stand/walk or not, I have desires, dreams, and aspirations just like anyone else. I like to workout, go out, have fun, travel (when allowed) and I am the happiest I have ever been.”

Follow Clara at @RollinFunky

Jo Jeffery

Jo Jeffery is on a mission to spread the message that every body fits at Figleaves - through content and PR that celebrates inclusivity and diversity.