This 26-year-old alternative pop singer channels her amputeeism into artistic fodder, utilizing specially-designed prosthetic limbs in music videos and shattering stereotypes surrounding disability.
Screenshot courtesy Viktoria Modesta
This past Sunday, the final of The X Factor aired, drawing in nearly 10 million viewers eager to see who won the wildly popular talent show. Yet the massive audience tuning in was unexpectedly treated to an additional performance by a non-X Factor performer, 26-year-old pop singer Viktoria Modesta, during a commercial break, when a clip from her latest music video “Prototype” aired.
If you’re thinking that’s a hefty load of publicity for a music artist who isn’t even close to a household name yet, you wouldn’t be wrong. Channel 4 shelled out 200,000 euros for the spot in promotion of Modesta, who’s at the forefront of their ‘Born Risky’ brand campaign. Modesta is long, lean, and unmistakably stunning. Her look is distinctively sultry—reminiscent of Dita von Teese—pale skin framed by raven hair and page boy bangs, with a girlish air that still oozes sex appeal. So, what’s so ‘risky’ about yet another aspiring pop star? The Latvian-born singer is, technically speaking, disabled. Outfitted with a prosthetic limb on the lower portion of her left leg, Modesta voluntarily underwent an amputation at age 20 as a result of an accident at birth that affected the limb’s growth.
[youtube ratio="0.5625" position="standard" caption=""Prototype" music video"]
She is posing herself as a prototype to a new idea of pop star—the “world’s first bionic pop artist”—and in doing so, along with Channel 4, wants people to “forget what you know about disability.” Instead of being limited by her amputeeism, Modesta chooses instead to be empowered by it, channeling it into her artistic expression and incorporating it into her performance. “Pop stars these days are painfully dull and manufactured,” said Chris Bovill and John Allison, Heads of 4Creative at Channel 4, in a press release, endorsing Modesta as “the real deal” and a shining example of an artist equipped to shake up the “world of homogenized pop.”
“I’ve chosen my own fucking way to do things, unapologetically, and I'm hoping people will react the same way,” Modesta said to Dazed. “You don’t have to constantly run on this treadmill. You can think outside the box, move country, marry a person you never thought you would, change jobs. Do something your gut is telling you to do. The closer you can live your life to a movie script the more exciting it is.”
“Prototype” directed by music video aficionado Saam Farahmand, showcases Modesta, sensual and strong as she dances, stomps, and writhes to the pulsating electro-pop tune, equipped with a variety of artistic, bespoke prosthetic limbs designed by The Alternative Limb Project. It serves to break down the stigma surrounding disabled people, but also preconceived notions of sexuality and beauty. The ending scene is simultaneously ear-splitting and visually stunning, as Modesta performs a ballerina-esque dance strung up like a marionette, her dangerously pointed prosthetic spike sounding like a knife being sharpened on a whetstone as she dramatically drags it across the floor.
“We’re limitless, we’re not confined,” Modesta sings.
Hopefully, people everywhere are listening.