Role model, Runway model.
Madeline Stuart, an 18-year-old Aussie with down syndrome conquered the catwalk at New York Fashion Week.
Madeline opened the collection of Hendrik Vermeulen’s for Spring 2016 as part of the FTL MODA presentation of international designers.
The show was organized with the help of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and Models of Diversity, a British group that campaigns for diversity in the fashion industry. Madeline is the second model with Down Syndrome to walk the runway after Jamie Brewer, the American Horror Story actress who became the first person with Down Syndrome to walk in NYFW last februrary.
Maddy’s fame started off when her Mom uploaded her photos last May to Facebook, where they quickly went viral. Within a week, she had 20,000 followers. Today, her Facebook page has been liked by nearly half a million people.
After earning support and accessories company EverMaya announced that Madeline would be the face of their new line which launched last week – and it’s even named after her! She also recently landed a modelling contract for diversity-positive brand Manifesta, fronting the campaign for the US-based activewear.
“We share their steadfast commitment to raising awareness for the paralysis community and together, we will break down barriers to achieve total inclusion for models living with disabilities across the most prestigious runways of the world,” FTL Moda producer Ilaria Niccolini said. “By challenging the stereotypes surrounding disability, we will truly create fashion free from confines.”
Madeline is an inspiration not just for the people with disabilities but to all people who feel small and think that they cannot make a difference.