placeholder
October 05, 2015 03:30 PM

The bionic model meets the bionic soldier.

Rebekah Marine walked in New York Fashion Week despite being born without a right forearm. And Brian Taylor Urruela has used his status as an amputee war veteran to help others like him.

Both have challenged the way society views those with disabilities, and together they are sure to make an impact – their first meeting is captured in these photos, obtained exclusively by PEOPLE.

“I was born without an arm and [he] lost his leg so we both have different reasons for limb-loss,” Marine, of Woodbury, New Jersey, tells PEOPLE. “It’s really cool for our paths to cross and come together to create these strong photos and empowering photos.”

Rebekah Marine (top) and BT Urrela
Csaw Studios

Marine, 28, and Urruela, 29, met last week in Deptford, New Jersey, for the shoot with photographer Steve Woods, of Csaw Studios.

In the photos, the two strike several romantic (and equally powerful) poses, from Marine holding on to Urruela’s leg to the two sharing an embrace.

“It’s really about opening up the dialogue about disabilities, it’s to stop hiding the disability,” Urruela, of Tampa, Florida, says of his mission with the photoshoot. “It’s to stop being ashamed of it and to own it and I think that’s what Rebekah and I both do.”

Rebekah Marine (left) and BT Urruela
Csaw Studios

Marine tells PEOPLE that the collaboration was months in the making. She says the two have long been fans of each other, but conflicting schedules delayed the project.

Now, Marine says the shoot was “all about empowering people who may not see the brighter side of the cards they were dealt.”

Rebekah Marine (left) and BT Urruela
Csaw Studios

She added: “Together, we highlighted our ‘disabilities’ and our paths to overcome them.”

Their efforts don’t end there though. Marine says she is negotiating with a few major clothing lines as well as continuing to advocate for those with disabilities.

Urruela, who lost his leg after a pair of roadside bombs hit his Humvee in 2006 in Iraq, is trying his hand at writing.

BT Urruela (front) and Rebekah Marine
Csaw Studios

He has appeared on the covers of several romance novels including Bleeding Love by Harper Sloan and Easy Charm by Kristen Proby. Now, he is working on a novel of his own.

Urruela says he hopes to change the way people with disabilities view themselves.

“I had to go from being a 21-year-old who could do anything to a 29-year-old now missing a limb and a beat-up leg, so for us I think it’s about the empowerment aspect of it,” Urruela tells PEOPLE. “It’s about the fact that, you know, yes we’re different. Yes, this is something that makes me different from you, but I’m still human.”

“I’m still strong. I’m strong despite this,” he says.

You May Like

EDIT POST