Viktoria Modesta embodies Rolls-Royce Black Badge spirit

In a new promotional video, the "bionic artist" rocks a carbon-fiber prosthetic leg that's fitted with a Tesla coil and sparks like a bolt of lightning!

Craig Cole Former reviews editor
Craig brought 15 years of automotive journalism experience to the Cars team. A lifelong resident of Michigan, he's as happy with a wrench or welding gun in hand as he is in front of the camera or behind a keyboard. When not hosting videos or cranking out features and reviews, he's probably out in the garage working on one of his project cars. He's fully restored a 1936 Ford V8 sedan and then turned to resurrecting another flathead-powered relic, a '51 Ford Crestliner. Craig has been a proud member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).
Craig Cole
2 min read
Viktoria Modesta Rolls-Royce Black Badge

The human embodiment of Black Badge, Rolls-Royce's more sinister range of cars.


Have you heard of Black Badge? It's a relatively new range of special-edition Rolls-Royce models, a "permanent bespoke series of motor cars" according to the hallowed British automaker.

Offered on the convertible, sedan and coupé (that's pronounced coo-pay in the Queen's English), they're designed to be more assertive, powerful and confident than "standard" versions of these cars. Think of them as more sinister alter egos of each mainstream variant.

As the range's name suggests, Black Badge models are noticeable darker, dressed up with unique trim and other high-end embellishments. Beyond that, these cars are intended to bring a "new generation" of customer into the Rolls-Royce fold. That's probably shorthand for folks like chart-topping musicians, movie stars and successful influencers, opposed to the more typical old-money families and royalty that park these behemoths in their private garages.

Celebrating the Black Badge range, Viktoria Modesta, a bionic performance artist, embodies the automaker's iconic Spirit of Ecstasy logo in a video released Tuesday. Sexy, dark and brooding, this promotional clip clearly illustrates the emotions Rolls-Royce intends to stir with these cars.

Born in Latvia during Soviet times, Modesta had problems with her left leg throughout childhood. In 2007 she voluntarily had it amputated below the knee. If you were scratching your head, this is where the bionic part of her title comes from. She's since performed at a variety of venues that include the Paralympic Games closing ceremony, Art Basel and Fashion Week.

A special carbon-fiber prosthetic limb was designed for Modesta and is seen in this video. Joe DiPrima at ArcAttack, the Alternative Limb Project and the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective of craftspeople, designers and engineers helped create this one-of-a-kind leg.

Far from an ordinary prosthetic, the limb in question features a Tesla coil in the heel. It activates under pressure, illuminating glass portions of the leg with a continuous stream of sparks. Colored portions of this prosthetic are finished in Rolls-Royce black paint and embellished with a 3D-printed and electroplated motif inspired by the automaker's grille design.

Viktoria Modesta Rolls-Royce Black Badge 02

The bionic artist performs.


Modesta also wore a bespoke carbon-fiber bodice in this video. Her silhouette was digitized with high-resolution body scans for the utmost precision. A powder-based 3D-printing technique was employed to create an ultralightweight garment, one that was then covered in a carbon-fiber veneer, because everybody needs more carbon fiber!

In the release, Modesta said the Black Badge range parallels her work, which largely focuses on "maximizing your potential and becoming a hyper version of yourself." She described the experience as having "pushed the boundaries" and "explored the allure of a darker, bolder expression ... where your senses are heightened, where you are the bravest and most free." Seems a good fit for the Rolls-Royce Black Badge family.