Madeline Stuart is the world’s first professional model with Down Syndrome, and she’s determined to follow her dream despite stereotypes about people with disabilities. She recently caught the world’s attention with a catwalk performance at New York Fashion Week, and now she’s taken part in a bridal shoot with photographer Sarah Houston, set in the historic Rixey House in Virginia.
The beautiful pictures have received a lot of warm praise online, particularly from parents and friends of special needs people - people who do plan to get married one day and want it to be a beautiful, memorable day for their wedding, just like everyone else.
Global Disability Inclusion president Meg O’Connell, who persuades brands to recognize the importance of marketing to people with disabilities, says this kind of representation is very important:
“People want to see people like themselves in fashion and advertising and marketing campaigns. People with disabilities buy clothes and cars and houses. They want to be represented, like everyone else; disability has been the forgotten diversity segment.”
Madeline’s website explains how she fell in love with modeling from the moment she saw her first fashion show:
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. “She loves the camera! People need to see how she shines, how her personality just bursts out.”
You can check out more of her modeling work on Instagram.