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Patient Stories

Emm Arruda

Emm Arruda’s exciting new partnership with Setting Scoliosis Straight comes at the peak of June Scoliosis Awareness month and on the heels of being named Sephora Fresh Face of the Year by Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards (CAFA)!

Emm is doing more than spreading global awareness about scoliosis–a cause that has been severely underrepresented. She is flipping a stereotype on its head and challenging what it means to be beautiful and perfect as she climbs to the top of one of the most critical and competitive industries in the world. She’s confident, authentic, and unapologetically brave, and we couldn’t be more proud of her!

There is no question of the positive impact Emm will have for young girls and boys with scoliosis. Her ability to not only embrace her scar, but proudly show it off is a reminder to us all to live boldly. We hope young people with scoliosis will instantly see themselves in her and be inspired by her story.

“The last year and a half has been an absolute whirlwind for me and my family. Being so closely effected by scoliosis, this partnership with Setting Scoliosis Straight means the world to me. I’m so proud to be creating awareness for scoliosis and inspiring others to always follow their dreams, and that anything is possible.”

 

Emm’s Scoliosis Story

Bionic woman, rising star, model citizen…

Emm Arruda, only 16 years old when she was launched into a bustling modeling career, is redefining the ideals of beauty in one of world’s hardest businesses to crack, the fashion industry.

It’s hard enough for a model to make it out there, never mind if she has a 15-inch scar down her back. This was the case for the now 17-year-old Ontario native who made her modeling debut at New York Fashion Week in September 2016.

“I always thought it was something I would never do because of my body being all out of shape,” she says of the S-curve her back took on caused by scoliosis. “Even after the surgery, when people mentioned modeling to me, it seemed impossible.”

Emm Arruda was diagnosed with scoliosis at just 15, and opted for spinal fusion corrective surgery at SickKids Hospital in Toronto. After having two titanium rods and over 20 screws placed in her back to straighten the spine, Emm had a long but successful recovery which resulted in a two-inch height increase and close to perfect posture.

“It definitely used to bother me. Especially at the time, going through it, my body was in all kinds of crazy shapes,” says Emm. “Once it was fixed I struggled a little emotionally with the scar. But I 100% embrace it now. I’ve learned that it’s beautiful… to be comfortable in your own skin and to be yourself.”

Shortly after her surgery, her mother’s friend sent photos of Emm to one of Canada’s leading model management agencies, Chantale Nadeau Model Placement, where she was signed right away. While some modeling agencies may have viewed her scar as a setback, Chantale describes Emm as an “incredible bionic woman with better posture than anyone she’s ever known”.

Since then she has flown all around the world working for some of the biggest fashion houses including Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Céline, Alexander McQueen, among many others.

Emm’s life sounds like it was plucked right out of a book. And although her success story and incredibly adventurous life is fascinating, what we admire most about Emm is how humble and down to earth she is. During an interview with Novella magazine, Emm was asked to name something she couldn’t live without. Her answer, “the love and support of my family and friends; they mean everything to me.” Yes, she really is that cool.

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