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Madeline Stuart, 18, is an inspiration in the sense she’s one of the first models suffering from Down syndrome to walk the ramp at New York Fashion Week. Stuart walked for South African designer Hendrik Vermeulen’s spring 2016 collection. Actress Jamie Brewer was the first person with this syndrome to walk in NYFW earlier.
“As with many people with Down Syndrome Maddy struggled with her weight for a long time, and last year she decided to get healthy and chase after her dreams,” the about section of her website said.
Maddy really wants to change the way people discriminate against disability through gaining attention through social media. She wants people to know that Down Syndrome is a blessing, something to be celebrated, her website said.
FTL Moda presented a range of designers and partnered with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Global Disability Inclusion. The show casted a diverse range of models, including models living with disabilities.
“I think it’s amazing that she’s been given this opportunity. It’s a fantastic platform for us to get our beliefs across on inclusion and disability,” her mother, Rosanne Stuart, told AFP.
“Last year we were at a fashion parade and Maddy said, ‘Mum, Me, Model’ My little girl always loved being in the spotlight, and I knew at that moment she wanted to get up on the catwalk then and there. Of course this meant that I had to explain to her that she couldn’t just climb up on the stage and model, which didn’t go down well as you can imagine. But I also knew at that moment that my daughter was going to do something special,” her mother shares on her website how her daughter’s romance with modelling began.
Maddy has also walked the catwalk in New York for auto immune awareness and has become the face of a cosmetic company called Glossigirl. She also has a bag named after her called ‘The Madeline” by a handbag company called EverMaya which donates its sales to National Down Syndrome Society.
Click here to read her full story