This Bionic Pop Artist Is Shaking Up The Cabaret Scene

"I really look at prosthetics in a very similar way of how I use everything around me — to sort of express myself." VIKTORIA MODESTA spoke to Brut about shaking up cabaret beauty standards and how her prosthetic leg makes her feel empowered. ✨

Meet Viktoria Modesta

Viktoria Modesta is shaking up cabaret beauty standards, breaking stereotypes with her body positivity and prosthetic leg. The empowering artist, who was born in Latvia but moved to London when she was 12, commissioned three prosthetic legs for each of her appearances within the 90-minute show, including a light-up limb and a dazzlingly sharp-looking black spike. Bionic Showgirl” was conceived by Modesta in collaboration with Crazy Horse creative director Andrée Deissenberg, with music arranged by Los Angeles-based producer Madeaux. Deissenberg contacted the performance artist on Instagram, entirely taken with her futuristic universe and empowering message around body positivity: Modesta, who chose to have her left leg amputated at 20 years old after years of health issues, wears a prosthetic limb.

After years spent as part of the London club scene, Modesta’s breakthrough moment came during the 2012 London Paralympics, where she was invited to perform at the closing ceremony as a new age snow queen, complete with a diamond-encrusted bionic leg before a crowd of some 90,000. She said she thought then:

“The fact that I had an amputation doesn’t make me different. There are millions of people with the same physical situation, it’s my perspective and my view on the world that really made things different. Visibility has greatly increased thanks to a whole new whole influencer community of people with different bodies,” said the performer. “For that particular community, social media is the best tool ever: they are not relying on the media, they are not even relying on the fashion or modeling industry, they are creating their own image, visibility and branding of how they want to be seen — and that’s so awesome. It’s a very positive thing.”

For Modesta, who bills herself as a “performance artist first, spokesperson and activist second,” the main goal of “Bionic Showgirl” is to showcase diversity.