Veronica Yoko Plebani is the Italian paralympian gold medalist taking the fashion world by storm

This feature appears in V136 now available for purchase


For most, winning a medal can be the goal of a lifetime. But for Veronica Yoko Plebani, the Italian Paralympian, winning is de rigueur–as the 26-year-old already boasts more than 30 major medals, including multiple golds in competitions for snowboarding, kayaking, and in triathlons, respectively.

Dress Valentino

But Plebani’s achievements were not easily won. In 2011, a sudden onset of meningitis C left the young creative and dance-enthusiast with permanent physical damage. But upon leaving the hospital, a powerful urge to reclaim her body awoke. She used athletic training to heal and ease into her new reality. “Being an athlete helped me to recover faster,” she says. “It was a kind of magic formula, actually.” Now an inspiration to millions through her athletics, Plebani has appeared on glossy magazine covers and in fashion editorials—like this one.

“Representation can change the lives of so many,” she says. “Because seeing a disabled person in the fashion industry shouldn’t be so sensational when 15 percent of the world’s population has a disability. I’m not a hero because I train every day to get a medal at the Paralympic Games. I’m just an athlete, and a person with a disability who struggles with daily problems like everyone else.”


This feature appears in V136 now available for purchase


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