Samanta, originally from Capao da Canoa, Brazil, aspired to be a model from eight-years-old and had been working professionally prior to her accident.
While admiring and playing with her father’s shotgun, it accidentally fired paralysing her and nearly claimed her life. She said:
“I was playing with my father’s gun and I shot myself by mistake, it was very sad what happened. The bullet hit my spine and severed my spinal cord as well as hitting the liver, pancreas and other areas, it was a miracle I survived. I was so panicked, thinking I was going to die at the time that when I was told that I would never walk again before my operation it didn’t matter.”
“I didn’t mind being disabled but I cared about not being able to go down the catwalk anymore, London Fashion week was always a dream of mine and it felt shattered. I didn’t think I could model because I was in a wheelchair, it was a traumatic thing for me because I was a professional model before and then couldn’t do it. So I focused on wheelchair tennis and became the best player in Brazil, then I was asked to take pictures for a company selling tennis chairs.”
As a wheelchair tennis player, Samanta represented Brazil in several tournaments from 2003 to 2009, winning a doubles silver medal at the Para Pan Am Games in 2007.
In June 2019, Samanta Bullock collaborated with seven London-based fashion designers to create Samanta Bullock (SB) Shop as a marketplace with a line of fully inclusive, universally accessible clothing, “clothes that anyone can wear.”
The shop was founded on the principle that inclusion must be for everyone, including our planet. As well as being fully inclusive of all body types, each collection is based on sustainable material practices, from sourcing Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) organic cottons to providing training for local communities in India. By combining both social and material sustainability, the SB shop hopes to provide a three dimensional understanding of inclusion.
In the last year Samanta’s work has been recognised through a Focus Brasil award for Fashion, a SJL Foundation award for innovation in business, a Ladies of All Nations International award and she was also named on the Shaw Trust Power list for 2019.
This past summer, Bullock started the SB Challenge, which encourages disabled and other underrepresented people in fashion to create magazine covers with themselves on it to show that everyone deserves a place in the fashion world.
What is the SB Challenge?
The SB Challenge was created as a new version of the Vogue challenge. It is directed at people that feel like they are not represented in fashion magazines to put themselves on the cover of any magazine that they would like to be portrayed in. The focus is more on disability because that is something that appeals to the shop, but regardless the SB shop believes that inclusive is universal.