By Freya Coombes

DESPITE BEING accused by trolls of photoshopping out her leg for attention this amputee model proved the haters wrong by featuring in LA Fashion Week and modelling bras for Kim Kardashian.

Model and actress Cherie Lousie (30) from Taranaki, New Zealand has soared to success, booking incredible modelling gigs in spite of her disability and the accompanying critics.

Cherie was diagnosed with rare bone cancer, Osteosarcoma, at age six. She began having a persistent high fever and pains in her left hip.

Osteosarcoma is a form of bone cancer where the tumours look like early forms of bone cells that normally help make new bone tissue.

To save her life, Cherie’s parents were told that her entire left leg and half of her pelvis had to be amputated. The amputation, called an external hemipelvectomy, is an extremely rare and high-risk operation, making prosthetics difficult to use.

Sherie has never let her disability stop her.

Cherie has received insensitive and hateful comments on social media about her disability, with people even accusing her of photoshopping off her leg to gain attention.

At age 16, Cherie moved to Australia to pursue a career in the fashion industry. Cherie took inspiration from an amputee model on Instagram, Mama Cax, who has sadly passed away since.

Since then Cherie has gained momentum as a model, signing up with the US agency Other People’s Children.

In July 2022, Cherie moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career further and was quickly booked on Kim Kardashian’s clothing campaign SKIMS.

This year Cherie was also booked to do her first-ever catwalk show, walking in LA Fashion Week in October. She was also due to walk in Sydney Fashion Week however was unable to do so due to catching Covid.

Despite her success, the hardest part for Cherie is navigating the instability of the industry. She has to be ready at any minute for a casting call and struggles to make plans with her friends and family back home.

Cherie talks about her incredible experience on Kim Kardashian’s campaign and LA Fashion Week.

“After moving to Los Angeles, I was booked for my first campaign for Kim Kardashian’s clothing brand, SKIMS,” said Cherie.

“It was their first-ever bra campaign and I was booked to model for the campaign along with many other incredible women that I have looked up to such as Brooke Shields and Chelsea Handler.

Cherie posing at a photoshoot.

“It was a big day with so many models included in the campaign and the experience was a very positive one for me.

“Their production is very well run and you can tell that the people you’re working with are trusted and the best at what they do.

“I really hope to work with them again soon.

“I was booked to walk in LA fashion week this year and it was actually my first ever catwalk show.

“ I was booked for my first catwalk in Sydney Fashion Week in May this year and fell ill with Covid only two days before the show – I was heartbroken.

“Then in October, I received the call to walk in a huge show curated by Issa Rae in collaboration with Delta for LA Fashion week.

“It was another great production to be a part of and was the best experience I could ask for for my first catwalk show.

“I felt really proud of being selected among such incredible models.”

Cherie talks about the negative comments she received.

“People on social media often accuse me of faking having one leg and claim that I photoshop my leg out of my photos for attention,” says Cherie.

“They can’t grasp that images flip depending on whether you use the front or rear camera on your phone, or if a photo is taken in a mirror.

Cherie talks about the difficulties of navigating the industry.

“The most difficult part for me so far has just been navigating the instability of the industry as someone just starting to break into it.,” she said.

Cherie lost her leg and half her pelvis at age six to cancer.

“It takes a lot mentally to stick through when the industry itself is quiet and there isn’t much happening.

“I try to keep busy in other ways and always take action to try and attract more interest/exposure to myself as a model.

“The industry is unpredictable and you just have to be ready at all times for something to come at the last minute.

“You’ll get a casting call for something the next day. That means I can’t really plan to go see my friends or family back home without risking missing out on work and that’s something I’m learning to deal with.

Cherie comments on what she is proudest of achieving and her increasing success.

“My move to America to work as a model/actress is probably my biggest achievement. I had to build up my career and accomplishments for years before having enough behind me to be able to apply for a visa to work here,” said Cherie.

“I know this visa is really difficult to get and being approved for that was a huge step in my career.

“I wasn’t sure what would happen after moving to Los Angeles, I didn’t know if I’d get work or how things would turn out at all.

“After being here a few months now, I’ve been getting booked for amazing jobs and know that this is where I’m meant to be right now. “