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The MuSt feature highlights artists with great music and great style. For this reason, Viktoria Modesta is an obvious choice.
What I love most about Latvian pop sensation Ms. Viktoria Modesta is how unapologetically fabulous she is.
Her particular sense of fashion is tempered with a sharp wit, sensuality, and a bit of vintage glamour. She is not a simpering violet waiting on her prince to determine her worth, she’s a woman that is confident in her inherent value and is unabashed about how awesome she is.
Yes, she gorgeous, talented and—an amputee, but don’t go feeling sorry for her. She’s not asking for your pity. Instead, she’s knocking down doors all over with her savage brand of fierce feminine power.
Viktoria Modesta has bravely come forward as a survivor who redefines what feminine beauty means and how women’s bodies are perceived.
In her video, “Prototype,” a collaboration with U.K.’s Channel 4, she proudly displays what is often hidden away in shame, talked about in hushed tones, or looked upon with pity and remorse. Her amputated leg serves as a middle finger to a society who says, “You can’t be a sexual being if you’re an amputee.” In the “Prototype” video, she gets a bit of action with a man, and her left leg, minus the artifice of any prosthesis or special effects, is seen as it really is.
It’s as if she is saying, “This is me. And I am beautiful.”
And indeed she is.
Viktoria Modesta’s message defies convention, and the rampant ableism that often goes unchallenged in industrialized society, is exposed.
Victoria’s message forces us to confront preconceived notions of how we envision the body–women’s bodies in particular. It creates a bit of cognitive dissonance to see what we have been subliminally (or some cases, overtly) taught as not beautiful or sensual, and is in direct contrast to Ms. Modesta in “Prototype,” who demonstrates that she is not only beautiful and sensual, but in full use of her own agency in crafting her image.
I was at first uncomfortable and angry with Channel 4’s message of her being “The First Amputee Pop Star,” a sentiment that I initially felt focused more on her body and not her art. However, in many interviews, the star has stated that she is in charge of how she is seen and observed. In fact, she constantly stresses that she has autonomy and control of herself and her career. She shows the world that she is more than capable of taking care of herself, and she is NOT (nor should she be) ashamed of her body.
“Prototype” is a testament to the idea of defying conformity and embracing revolution. It presents her as the main protagonist in a movement against an oppressive and totalitarian government; her image is used to spur the populace into not only action, but into defiance. The use of imagery and allegory as a way to criticize the themes we find rampant in society are meaningful and relevant. And the song itself is a catchy tune that’s sure to burn up the UK charts.
I especially love how Viktoria Modesta elevates avant garde fashion with a bit of fifties stylistics, and is almost never seen without a pompadour and red lipstick, two of my favorite things. I hope to see more from this burgeoning artist and hope that this signals a knocking down of some barriers in our society regarding beauty, image and style.
Her EP, titled simply “V.M.” is now available on itunes.
Want more artists with great Music + Style? Check out She’s Ryan!