Besides Sofia Jirau, These 13 Models Broke Decades-Long Stereotypes About People With Down Syndrome

2 years ago

While there are almost 400,000 people with Down syndrome in the US alone, society still has a lot of misconceptions about this genetic disorder. But as the world continues to change for the better, people with disabilities are being given the chance to turn this delusion on its head and prove that the sky is the limit.

We at Bright Side send a round of applause to these 14 models, who broke the glass ceiling of the beauty industry and who are advocates for diversity and inclusiveness.

1. Madeline Stuart

Madeline became a worldwide phenomenon, and now she’s the most famous model with Down syndrome. Her road to fame started when her mom shared a photo of how Madeline lost 20 kg to become healthier and chase her dreams. She’s modeled in the most famous magazines and cat-walked all over the world, breaking the stereotypes about people with Down syndrome one photo at a time.

2. Jamie Brewer

Jamie is a model and actress, best known for her role in American Horror Story. The 37-year-old legend also became the first-ever model with Down syndrome to walk the New York Fashion Week catwalk. Jamie once said that it’s truly inspirational for her that she’s a role model for women to encourage them to be who they are and not hide it.

3. Věra Gabriela

Věra is now a 10-year-old girl who’s unstoppable on the road to success. In the left photo, she was only 3 years old. With this dream-like appearance that she’s had since her early years, it’s no wonder she earned the title of Czech Rapunzel. We hope that she won’t let her condition dictate her life.

4. Beth Matthews

Beth’s goal is also to change people’s perspective of Down syndrome. Her mother shared that as soon as she was born, doctors presented the news negatively. But Beth has always achieved more than anyone expected. Modeling, appearances on live TV & radio, and articles about her are ways for Beth to push the boundaries and outdated opinions about life with this condition.

5. Chelsea Werner

Chelsea wrote that she’s happy to break the barriers that society has built for people with disabilities. While being told that she will always have low muscle tone, she became a world gymnastics champion twice. And the fact that she’s working with many brands from H&M to Tommy Hilfiger is just more proof that no one can dictate what a person is capable of.

6. Jessica Jacinto

As a teenager, Jessica tried different sports, and none of them made her happy. But the day she participated in a beauty pageant for girls with Down syndrome, Jessica sparkled, and her mom knew that Jessica had found her place. Since then, nothing can stop Jessica from achieving her dreams, and her mother has been there to help her along the way.

7. Sofía Jirau

Sofia shook up the fashion industry like a snow globe. Her career hasn’t slowed down ever since her dream came true, and she became the first model with Down syndrome to work for Victoria’s Secret.

8. Ellie Goldstein

Ellie has been modeling since she was 15, and not only has she worked with world-famous brands like Gucci and Nike, but she’s also studying Performing Arts in college. With such dedication, there’s no doubt that Ellie will achieve all her life goals and change the industry for the better.

9. Mikayla Holmgren

Mikayla describes herself as “having a little Down syndrome on the side.” She doesn’t let her condition dictate what she can’t do. She’s a model, the first Miss USA pageant contestant with this condition, a dancer, and a speaker.

10. Marian Avila

We could all use Marian’s life motto: “I can.” She has already participated in campaigns for famous companies like Vogue and Levi’s. The attention Marian got as a model was used to spread the idea that everyone can fight for what they believe in. As long as there are people with determination like Marian’s, our society is in safe hands.

11. Jack Brumpton

Our list wouldn’t be full without a male model. Jack is the first British model with Down syndrome. He shared that, people living with disabilities have to work hard every day to do things that others take for granted. And while his road to success isn’t all roses and sunshine, we believe that this young man will be able to fulfill his dreams.

12. Georgia Furlan Traebert

Georgia’s career started by accident when her father posted a photo of her online, which got the attention of a modeling agency. She already has contracts with 5 different agencies, and while Georgia develops her career, we can’t take our eyes off her contagious smile.

13. Kennedy Garcia

Kennedy became an influencer who has a wide list of responsibilities: being a model for iconic brands, shooting films, giving public speeches, and even participating in dancing competitions. This young lady certainly has a bright future lying ahead of her, and there are a lot of things she and her family can teach our society.

14. Lauren Hilaire

While in her early 20s, Lauren has already tried her hand at being an office assistant, a kitchen helper, a hospital worker, and a model. Lauren also gives lectures to spread knowledge about life with her disability. Her goal is to motivate people to get to know themselves better and share what makes them special. And while her modeling career didn’t begin very long ago, we hope to see her on magazine covers in the near future.

What other changes does the fashion industry need to make to be more diverse? Do you know of any other inspiring stories where people were able to change their decades-long stereotypes?


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