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Behind the Scenes

Honolulu Hawaii Native & Model of Diversity Shaholly Ayers: Surfing and Beachside Yoga


Photographer: Anneli Nygårds
City: Honolulu/Waikiki
Website link:
Model: Shaholly Ayers
Shaholly website:

It is indeed a rare thing to see a model who does diversity in a way we may not be used to experiencing in the fashion and editorial genres. It is time, that “diversity” includes those who have varying physical differences…not only those of color, ethnicity and size. This shoot takes this concept on in such a palatably stunning and fresh way with photographer Anneli Nygards. The shoot was produced by the stock image site, to increase the number of these types of images available to the tourism industry, publications, and companies who wish to market to all.

The key challenge was the number of shoot variations planned for on one very hot day! But it helps when the model is “super to work with, easy, flexible and very positive!” according to photographer Anneli.

Also, the location was quite crowded and fighting this as well as the waves are just a part of the great challenge that is inherent in the magnificence that is Waikiki.

The photographer was inspired to do this shoot as she hopes these images will show that “Shaholly can be a great face to the world on how positive and flexible she is while living a great life here in Honolulu. Also, it is great to show the landscape of Honolulu/Waikiki, and that there are lots of things you can do here!”

The shoot got off to a great start as the ladies had already gotten to know each other via a pre-shoot introductory conference call, arranged by Photoability, and had a one-on-one meeting in town that solidified their respect and comfort with one another.

Anneli hailed from Sweden and had her two lovely daughters come along for the shoot acting as assistants helping with hair and nails, and holding the reflector. “Lots of sun and lots of fun!” said Anneli. “It was so sweet having Anneli’ s daughters on set”, according to Shaholly and they made for some adorable photos as well.

Shaholly has done her fair share of modeling and can “fit in” and be what most castings require…to be both beautiful and “normal” in a physical sense by simply hiding her one arm. However, she feels this shoot allowed her the freedom to be her own unique self.

“There is a real absence of showcasing physical disability within the media first of all, but to showcase disability in a normal, non-stigmatized way is truly remarkable and an image that people should see.”

Her advice to other models with disabilities?

“Enjoy yourself! Be your true self and let yourself radiate.”


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