Sophia M. Joe, a hearing-challenged young woman who has won the Super Model contest on Amrita TV, talks about her winning ways.

At 5 ft 8 inches, Sophia M. Joe stands tall, not just as a model, but as an inspiring role model. Being hearing-challenged did not impede her from scorching the ramp with her style and persona and winning laurels on the sports field too. The recent addition to her kitty of achievements is the title win in the Super Model, a reality show and talent hunt for models that was conducted by Amrita TV.

The journey has not been easy for her or for us, says Joe Francis, her father. “When we felt that she was being isolated by her peers because of her disability, we wanted to enable her to boost her confidence. It was then that we thought about modelling. And we got the right kind of support from fashion choreographer Dalu,” Joe says. “Sophia is extremely hard working when it comes to keeping her body in shape or following a diet,” he adds.

The Kochi-based 20-year-old commutes on a two-wheeler from her home at Eroor in Kochi to St Xavier’s College, Aluva, where she is a first year undergraduate student of English. “Practice makes perfect. I started off on the cycle and now I can drive scooters, bikes and cars. Thanks to my father who motivated me, driving is now a passion,” says Sophia over email.

She adds: “I dislike the idea of being called disabled. I don’t think it is the disability that motivates me because I love to live as a normal person. The strength comes from the Almighty and from within. Super Model was the first television show that I did and I never thought that I would win it,” says Sophia who has been part of many beauty contests and fashion shows. She is travelling to Delhi on March 2 to take part in ‘Miss Deaf India 2014’ contest.

She studied in an inclusive school till she completed class seven and then enrolled with the National Institute of Open Schooling. “I owe everything to my parents. My younger brother Richard is hearing-challenged. Our parents have given the best possible care for both of us. We wouldn’t have gone this far without them. Our happiness definitely comes from our parents,” she says.

As a parting shot, she says: “A person needs a lot of encouragement and courage to do great things. But from my experience I have learnt that one needs the same to do simple things. It certainly hurts that I can’t do many things what others do. But then God has given me an indomitable spirit. I want to remain positive and pleasant in front of all obstacles. Well, life kicks you back and asks why. But you just have to stare back and ask, why not?”

The finale of Super Model will be aired on Amrita TV on March 1 at 7 p.m.

In the limelight

Sophia has walked the ramp for many fashion shows, including Cochin International Fashion Week 2013 for Sanjana John

She dubbed for a hearing impaired character in the movie Bangkok Summer and has acted in Best Wishes, a movie for the differently-abled.

She was second runner up of Miss Malayalee Worldwide 2013 held in Kochi in December, 2013

Eight-time state champion and three-time national champion in shot put and discus throw for the hearing impaired.

Sophia does glass painting and designs jewellery