SFU student wheels to modeling victory
Her head spinning from all the media attention, Jessica Kruger, a Simon Fraser University English undergrad, remains focused on her key goal now that she has become the face of Lise Watier’s Something Sweet perfume.
The quadriplegic wheelchair athlete and Coquitlam resident has transformed into an overnight national modeling sensation after winning the cosmetic company’s search for the star face to market its latest product.
“One of the biggest things I hope to accomplish as an ambassador is to serve as somebody whom women and girls, with or without disability, can look up to,” says Kruger.
“I want to encourage them to love themselves and find their inner confidence. I hope to serve as an example of someone who has decided to look past her daily struggles and focus on the bigger picture, and whose determination and positivity outweigh her frustration and negativity.”
Kruger was up against more than 400 contestants in Watier’s initial round of the competition and was one of five top finalists in a photo shoot in Montreal. “My competitors were all beautiful and very welcoming, so I’m sure any of us could have done Lise Watier proud,” says Kruger, now one of the world’s few models who is quadriplegic.
“Differences are not always welcome in the modeling sphere, yet this is a step towards embracing them.”
One person will be vying to be first in line to greet Kruger when she flies into Vancouver International Airport at 11:55 p.m. Pacific time tonight on flight Air Canada Flight 1133. That’s her mom Mary.
“Jessica will make a world of difference as a role model for women seeking to triumph over tragedy through determination and perseverance,” says Kruger’s mother. “Jessica’s will to engage in helping herself persevere with rehabilitation without going into an electric chair helped her greatly go from having no hand movement to having full use of both hands.”
The only female member of the co-ed B.C. provincial rugby team, the SFU student, who celebrated her 21 birthday on June 12, became disabled when she fainted and fell off a ladder at age 15.
As well as becoming a star athlete and now model, she has, since her accident, become a published author in Reader’s Digest and a motivational speaker for the Rick Hansen Foundation and many public schools.
This fall, she extends her avid interest in community engagement to becoming a new student tutor in SFU’s Friends of Simon (FoS) program. She’ll help elementary and high school students build their English-as-a-second language skills.
Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.
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