Gorgeous eighteen-year-old Madeline Stuart will fulfill her dream of walking down the catwalk at New York Fashion Week this September.
The Brisbane teen will be the second woman with Down syndrome to model on the New York Fashion Week catwalk.
Madeline Stuart may have Down syndrome and three holes in her heart, but she doesn’t let that stop her from doing what she loves.
Three months ago she launched her own social media page and now has more than 435,000 Facebook followers.
Madeline ‘Maddy’ Stuart will model at the prestigious biannual event for American label FTL Moda on the 13th of September in New York. FTL Moda made the announcement on their Facebook page earlier this month, saying:
‘Beautiful Madeline will brighten up the runway at the #VanerbiltHall on September 13th 2015.’
The excited teen wrote to her 60,000 Instagram followers:
‘Guess who is modelling in NY for NY fashion week xx.’
Madeline Stuart will follow in the footsteps of fellow Australian top models like Abbey Lee Kershaw and Miranda Kerr.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Madeline’s mother Roseanna said:
‘The world is ready for people with intellectual disabilities to be represented on the catwalk […] I think that’s why she’s done so well because this isn’t about us. It’s about fighting the fight for all the people out there that are a bit different.’
Last month, Madeline’s mother told Daily Mail Australia that her daughter’s success is a testament to both the growth of the equality movement and the new model’s dedication.
‘She’s worked hard for it. People with Down syndrome can do anything. I think it is time people realised that people with Down syndrome can be sexy and beautiful. We will only continue doing this as long as Maddy is happy doing this. It’s only what makes Maddy happy that’s important.’
Madeline first made headlines just three months ago when she launched a campaign to end the stigma around disability with the hope of becoming a model, and now she is walking down the catwalk at the biggest fashion event in the world.
After she gained a lot of followers on social media, accessories company EverMaya announced that Madeline would be the face of their new line and it’s even named after her.
Damian Graybelle, CEO of EverMaya, told Daily Mail Australia last month:
‘There is absolutely nothing about Madeline that projects disability. Madeline is not simply a role model for people with disabilities, she is a role model for anyone that wants to better themselves, and get more out of life. We have received overwhelming support for taking this step, and in my mind it was long, long overdue. EverMaya is proud to be among the leaders in the fashion industry in changing the face of modelling.’
The teen also recently landed a modelling contract for diversity-positive brand Manifesta, fronting the campaign for the US-based active wear.
She worked hard to lose twenty pounds and did it by swimming five times a week, two weekly gym sessions and cheer-leading. Maddy is also a passionate dancer and brought her hip-hop dance group ‘Bust a Move’ (designed for teens and young adults living with disability) to LA in July.
She still has three holes in her heart and a leaky valve, but the brave teen manages this with daily heart medication, which has so far put off any need for further heart surgery.
Madeline Stuart won’t let Down syndrome hold her back, saying:
‘I am so excited that society is taking so much interest in the disability sector and our belief in inclusion is getting so much media coverage.’
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