Viktoria Modesta

Q&A with Viktoria Modesta

On Sunday night, Viktoria’s promo video, Prototype, premiered to millions of people during one of the ad breaks of the X Factor final. We asked Viktoria about the project:

How are you feeling after the launch of your single Prototype? What reactions have you had?

So far the reactions have been almost all very positive. I have been lucky enough to accumulate people that follow my work and understand it. So far it has been very rewarding.

You have some incredible prosthetic legs – which is your favourite?

My Favourite is definitely the spike. It’s another level. It’s conceptual and something that hasn’t been done before. It’s an idea from a dream I had so it’s personal.

Do you think you get treated differently as a disabled person?

People react to you according to your attitude about yourself. A confident, genuine personality, with a positive outlook, doesn’t draw that much negative treatment, whether you are disabled or not. I also feel very strongly that I do not represent a large portion of the disabled community; I would never claim to be doing that.

Can you tell us about any ‘knock backs’ you’ve had in the past from the music industry? How did they make you feel?

I would like to think that the knock backs I’ve had were due to mixed things like wrong timing, wrong material. I don’t think I haven’t reached ultimate success yet because of my leg alone. In fact I think it’s very far from the truth. My values are that to be good at something you need to compete against every player regardless of details such as artificial body parts. I don’t expect charity or special treatment I would simply like to play on equal terms.

What has driven you to succeed?

Initially it was about survival and escape from Latvia and its soviet repression. Later in London it was about looking for a tribe to explore myself. When I was young, I spent a large amount of time in seclusion having treatment. So when I came to London I was like a kid in a sweetshop. I wanted to try everything – every fashion, every kind of movement. The turning point was my realisation that I needed to drastically improve my health, to be the person I was starting to form. When I eventually had an operation to amputate my leg below-the-knee things started to become clearer. It served my health and my life to the standard I expected. The last seven years have been the most magical, sometimes like a movie with crazy ups and downs. Now that my health worries are over, I am comfortable in my own skin. Recent support from amazing people like Channel 4 has eliminated any remaining insecurities I might have had from childhood. I am inspired to live a happy and passionate life where I can collaborate with people and contribute something back.

Which artists inspire you?

I’m an 80/90’s child. My first two records were Prodigy and 2PAC. It’s when I came to London in 1999 that my artistic influences really began – it’s a mixture of club characters, eccentric friends and performance artist. Creatively I never feel obsessed with one person but I really enjoy artists that mix it up with media and visuals. I think if you going to experience a show or a song you need the correct imagery to touch all your senses.

What advice would you give to other disabled musicians trying to break through?

Don’t expect things to come easy but also don’t feel like the world is against you. If you are passionate there are so many lovely people out there to help you.

You will inspire many people – what kind of role model do you want to be?

If anyone is looking at me in that way, I would like them to take away the importance of being true to yourself and not my specific actions because they were tailored for my life. I would like people to interpret my attitudes and apply however fits them.

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