His first, and second, choices were easy. When the Starlight Foundation asked Echuca’s Jason Clymo what wish it could grant him he knew straight away he wanted nothing more than to meet Beyoncé. At a pinch he would settle for Jennifer Lawrence. But when that didn’t pan out – although not for want of trying – the celebrity star struck Jason told VIVIENNE DUCK he had Plan B up his sleeve.
IN 2014 medical student Jason Clymo’s life changed.
But right now the 22-year-old paraplegic model is on a roll, still buzzing from the biggest shoot of his career — a four-page feature in Stellar magazine, which was also featured on The Project.
The student-turned-activist rocked his best blue steel in the fashion shoot, a wish granted by the Starlight Foundation genies, which came out on June 18.
“My original wish was to meet Beyoncé or Jennifer Lawrence but after the foundation tried for almost three years, I decided this was a better option,” Jason told the Riv.
“The day was incredible and to have worked with such high profile people in the industry is mind-blowing.”
Jason was made wheelchair bound after a fall left him paraplegic while he was studying at Melbourne University and he has turned his accident into campaigning for a greater awareness of disabled people in the media and advertising industry.
“Like I continue to say, about 20 per cent of the population is disabled, so why aren’t companies and brands advertising to 20 per cent of their market,” Jason said.
“Being visible in my wheelchair in shoots, such as in Stellar, is a really powerful way to get the message out there.
“The response in just the first week has been incredible and without saying too much we have had a few nibbles of potential jobs.”
Jason was pictured in shades of indigo for the moody industrial shoot alongside his story pushing for equality.
“Everyone was fantastic and it was really fun,” he said.
“The clothes were incredible and after the shoot I was told Trenery was gifting me one of the jackets I wore (worth $599), which amazing.’’
But Jason’s success hasn’t stopped there, with a feature in Sunday’s edition of UK-based Creative Portrait Magazine.
“To be honest I didn’t know much about CPM before I stumbled upon them while I was searching the hash tag disabled models on Instagram and their Disabled Models Campaign came up,” Jason said.
“I did a bit of research and saw they took submissions so I sent in images in my portfolio taken by my friend Brooke Somerville of Full Cream Photography and they got in contact with me to do an interview.
“It is pretty incredible to be featured alongside Australian super model Madeline Stuart (who has Down syndrome) because she is killing it and we are both trying to do the same thing for disabled people.”
Jason said the feature in CPM is helping to spread his message on an international scale.
“We were just on the same page,” he said.
“And to be included in the campaign is helping my message spread further.”
Jason has put into motion steps to start a foundation and is aiming to keep taking one step at a time – despite that being figuratively, not literally.
And as he said after his Stellar shoot, “if Beyoncé reads my story, I still want to meet Beyoncé”.
“A month ago [Starlight] touched base and said: ‘Do you still want to meet Beyoncé?’ and I thought, ‘why don’t I try to get myself a bit more exposure in the modelling industry and get my message out there?’
“Then, if I become famous, I’ll meet Beyoncé anyway.”