Sinéad Burke has opened up about becoming the first little person to attend the Met Gala.
Both at home and abroad, Sinéad, who was born with achondroplasia, is best known for highlighting the lack of inclusivity within the fashion industry – so last night was a pretty special moment for her.
But before she hit the pink carpet in custom-made Gucci, Sinéad wrote an emotional piece for Vogue magazine.
She wrote: “For as long as I can remember, attending the Met Gala has been a dream and an objective of mine.”
“Growing up, I longed to witness someone like me on the livestream – because the Met Gala is a symbol of the fashion system, an institution within the fashion calendar and a global touchpoint for so many to be educated on the voices that we should listen to.
“As a disabled woman, I firmly believe in the phrase, ‘If you can see it, you can be it’.”
She continued: “Tonight marks the first time that a little person has attended the Met Gala. It is surreal, inspiring and humbling to be gracing the infamous red carpet. I am so grateful to Gucci, Vogue and Anna Wintour for their empathy and openness in thinking broadly about my accessibility needs.”
“Prior to tonight, I practised the stairs, and did an accessibility audit of the seating, bathrooms, elevators and corridors to figure out where and how we could ensure that I am as independent as possible on this very glamorous night. (Speaking of glamorous – my footstools have been decorated to seamlessly blend with the Met Gala furniture.)”
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Babies 1st MET!!! With the gorgeous @thesineadburke ✨⚡️ . . Style;l: @gucci Makeup: #JaleesaJaikaran using @guccibeauty @managementartists @shaecoopersmith Hair: @helenreavey Nails: @nailsbymarysoul ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #makeupinspo #metgala #redcarpet #sineadburke #gucci #nyc #newyork #metgala2019
Sinéad went on to reveal how she met Marco Bizzarri, the CEO of Gucci, in September last year – and how it lead to the fashion house dressing her for the Met Gala.
She wrote: “When Gucci and I began thinking on what I could and would wear, we wanted this moment to be powerful and important. As a little person, my physicality is often ridiculed.”
“There have been very few moments in pop culture where a woman like me has had agency over her own aesthetic. We were careful that what I’m wearing was not a costume but a reflection of me as a person and a way in which I could communicate my advocacy to the world.”
“In Gucci’s atelier in Rome, there now sits a mannequin customized to my measurements. This means that from the first fitting, the dress was almost perfect.”
“Yet, with this event, we had to be conscious of the weight of the fabric, the length of the train and the exact proportions of the bows to ensure that I felt as comfortable and confident as possible tackling the stairs and the global attention at my first Met Gala. No pressure!”
Sinead explained: “Ahead of tonight, I felt nervous. I can only speak for and represent myself, but at the same time, I feel a sense of responsibility. With accessibility, there is always the need to learn and achieve more. I’m hoping to be one of the people that helps to continue to push this forward.”
“Looking ahead, it’s essential that fashion continues to improve its diversity drive. Fashion is perhaps the only industry that we each have a tangible connection to: we all wear clothes, they touch our skin and it is a legal requirement that we get dressed every day.”
“Whether we invest in high fashion or the high-street, we each have a perspective and a desire to feel represented.”
Read Sinéad’s full piece for Vogue here.