Back in September at New York Fashion Week, we witnessed the fashion industry highlight people with disabilities on the runway to show the importance of inclusion on the catwalk. A fashion model that strongly stands for this is Karneshia Shantel, popularly known as K. Shantel. Shantel is a model paralyzed from spina bifida but she doesn’t let that get in the way of pursuing her dreams! In addition to being a model, she is also a businesswoman who owns her own nail salon, Shantelz Nailz. In the future, you can expect to see Shantel launch her very own vlog series titled, “Claw Talk” where she will interview the uprising talent in the city of Birmingham. Check out our exclusive interview with K. Shantel now.
Tell us about yourself. What made you want to get into the work of fashion and modeling?
My name is Karneshia Shantel, I typically go by K. Shantel. I got into modeling and fashion about four years ago when I noticed while online and through magazines that there was no representation of what fashion was like with a disability. I wanted to try and take photos and attend local shows and see how it would go. I enjoyed the process and everything about the fashion world. I’m originally from Mississippi but I currently reside in Birmingham, Alabama and I am 28-years-old.
Why is inclusion in the world of fashion important to you?
I think that it is important because representation truly does matter. You want to see faces like yours or situations that you may be able to relate to. Also, the industry needs to know that there are people out here with disabilities that want to do the same type of work so they should be looking in our direction as well.
Tell us about Shantelz Nailz. What inspired you to tap into the nail world?
Shantelz Nailz was created about two years ago. I went to nail school prior to that and I really wanted to take a talent and turn it into a legit business instead of just doing it for fun. Once I graduated from nail school, I proceeded to open my own nail business and to this day, it is doing pretty well!
Do you mind giving us insight into your vlog series, Klaw Talk?
Claw Talk is kind of my way of mixing media and beauty together. It gives me the opportunity to introduce new people while they get their nails done. It gives them a platform to express what they’re doing to make the world better or what they are doing in the world of entrepreneurship. I wanted to create something that hasn’t been touched yet because I haven’t seen anyone do an interview style nail appointment.
What can we expect to see from K. Shantel in the future?
What’s next for me I feel is watching the evolution of Klaw Talk and hopefully taking fashion and disability inclusion all over the world. I hope to be at all different Fashion Weeks. Wherever this life takes me, I’m down for the ride.
Stay connected with K. Shantel by following her on
Shot by, Funmi Ford
Styled by, Justine Amos
Hair by, Tacara Bedell of Lavish Luxury Boutique
MUA, The DSB Beauty Brand