By Liam & Jeila
I would like to tell you about the “behind of the scenes” story of the article. Believe me it was the hardest article for me to write to date. I procrastinated for weeks and I couldn’t quite the right words together. Because the topic I chose is not your average story. I had to put myself in other shoes. In the shoes of someone very special. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking of him, since the first time I met him.
Since I am a fashion designer, every person with a beautiful face, special attitude and extra-ordinary character is a potential muse for me. And when I saw the guy that I am writing about, I knew that he carries a deep treasure inside him. He is a born-model and an artist, albeit he can’t talk and can’t hear, and I was really fascinated by his burning desire. So now I am going to talk about the disabled talented young man, Khalig Mammadli, who chose modeling and being an artist over his disabilities and conquered the attention of photographers and designers with each glances he carries a story. Now let’s begin.
“If you’re young and talented, it’s like you have wings” said by Haruki Murakami and befitting for my article. In other words, if you have something extraordinary inside of you, nothing can stop you! Not even your handicaps…
I don’t need to enumerate the names of the people with handicaps who have made a difference to the world. As Robert Hensel said “My disability has opened my eyes to see my true abilities.” I was intrigued by how Khalig communicates with people, especially with photographers and even his college professors. Here’s what came of our interview:
By the way, Khalig communicates with new people with the help of his mother, and his friends already know how to communicate with him. So in this interview his mother helped me to get answers to my questions, I even had a chance to take his pictures in our latest men’s t-shirts from our capsule men’s collection.
Khalig, how old are you?
Were you born with your handicap?
He was born with this handicap. He has a brother who isn’t handicapped in any way.
To his mother: You are a true inspiration to all mothers that have children with handicaps. I know that it must be hard to raise your son, to understand what he tries to say, or what does he want, to teach him the things. How have you managed over the years?
Khalig is my first child. And when you are getting prepared for your first child to be born, you are over excited, over happy, over scared, I mean all your emotions are being doubled up. And when Khalig was born, I wasn’t expecting that. Since the technology back then wasn’t developed like now, so I didn’t know that my first child is going to be disabled. But even if I knew, I would never get upset. Since he was Allah’s gift for me, for our family. And I embraced my first child even stronger, and I loved him to pieces. And I still do. Sorry if I am rambling. (Smiles) Back to your question, yes, it was hard, but I was ready. I am a teacher, and for my son, I changed my teaching specialty, and I began to teach children with handicaps, to understand my son even better, to be an effective mother to him.
Khalig is now a model and an artist. Did you know that he was leaning towards the arts?
Khalig was a silent child. Not only in a meaning of mute, but he was a person with a silent soul. He liked to observe the things from apart. And he liked to turn his imagination into hand drawn pictures. He also liked to be the in the pictures. So modeling and painting grew up with him. Even through many uphill challenges, he didn’t give up. I am proud of him.
How did he get noticed by the photographers?
To be a model was his passion and he was always in chase of any opportunities that could lead him into that path. One day he saw an advertisement of an open call for local models, and I knew that we just had to go there. We went to the castings, and when he posed and walked, he was selected immediately. There wasn’t any mention of his handicaps or something like that. He just participated there with his soul and passion. And he is still the favorite model of the most designers and photographers.
Photographers like to say that “We are communicating with him, through his eyes. He talks with his glances. He can’t pretend. He doesn’t own any fake and false emotions. He is too far from all of these unpleasant things”. When there is a requirement for portrait fashion photography, he is the desired model, since he knows how to give the best natural expressions.
Thank you Mrs. Mammadli, for this sincere answers. I must admit, I am very touched and mesmerised by your strength.
So now you know that if you truly love something, there is not a place for any excuses for doing this! You just gotta do this! No matter what! And I would like to end this article with a nice quote from Nick Vujicic, “ In life you have a choice: Bitter or Better? Choose better, forget bitter.”
Collection by Liam & Jeila
Location: Coffee Moffie
Model: Khalig Mammadli
Photographer: Eko Safarli