Madeline Stuart. She's an 18-year-old model with Down syndrome, living in Brisbane, Australia. And she's about to make her New York Fashion Week debut.
Madeline (who also goes by Maddy) began posing for the camera at an early age when she begged her mother to start taking photographs of her in her own outfits before she left each day. And the results are amazing. She was discovered in May of 2015, and has gained nearly half a million
fans on Facebook and thousands of followers on her Instagram. The model can work a lot of styles, from floral to quirky and colorful designs.
Maddy is a lot of things--an athlete, a cheerleader, a gymnast and now, a model about to walk in a highly regarded fashion event on September 13. She's also an activist--for diversity in the modeling and fashion industry, for everyone of any shape or size to be able to model.
Maddy, like most people with Down syndrome, has struggled with her weight, recently losing 50 pounds, but she wants everyone to have the opportunity she's getting, no matter the circumstance. Her mother wants people to know that people with Down syndrome should be celebrated and feel beautiful.
Maddy is the face of the accessories brand EverMaya, which has also recently revealed handbags named after Maddy, with five percent of the sales going to the National Down's Syndrome Society. She also signed a contract with Activewear, a fitness clothing line for women.
Maddy has struggled with other health problems throughout the years, including three holes in her heart and a loose valve (which she now manages with medication). She remains positive, working towards a healthy life and her goals. After she went viral with her swimwear photos from Activewear, she began receiving fashion requests internationally.
Maddy is extremely driven and wants people to be included in all aspects as she works to redefine the fashion industry.
About the Author: Paige is a guest contributor from Global Lift Corp, a manufacturer in ADA compliant pool lifts for people with disabilities.