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By Nell MackenzieBusiness reporter, BBC News

  • 7 September 2020
Ellie Goldstein photographed for Gucci Beauty
Image captionZebedee model Ellie Goldstein has featured in an advertising campaign for Gucci Beauty

The BBC’s weekly The Boss series profiles different business leaders from around the world. This week we speak to Laura Johnson and Zoe Proctor, founders of Zebedee Management, a talent agency that represents models and actors with physical and learning disabilities.

Zoe Proctor and Laura Johnson were walking along a beach when they came up with their business idea.

Laura, who is the partner of Zoe’s brother, recalls how she was visiting her sister-in-law in 2017 during her maternity leave from her job as a social worker.

Zoe Proctor (left) and Laura Johnson
Image captionZoe (left) and Laura came up with the idea while out walking together

“We were having a chat and putting the world to rights, talking about the lack of representation of disabled people in the media,” she says.

Zoe, a model-turned-performing arts teacher for disabled adults, was saying that while her students “were so talented and keen”, they faced limited opportunity. The women wondered how, without a talent agency, Zoe’s students and other disabled people, would ever get acting or modelling work. So they decided to set one up themselves.

“It sounds cheesy, but it was like a light bulb moment,” says Laura.ADVERTISEMENT

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