Kit Steinkellner
August 22, 2015 1:03 pm

Ellen DeGeneres is dropping a new clothing line for GapKids, and is using the opportunity to celebrate awesome little girls that can serve as powerful role models for kids at large.  DeGeneres and Gap partnered with Changing Faces of Beauty, a non-profit that advocated for equal representation for the differently-abled in the media, to put on a very different and very special fashion show for the line. What that means is that 4 of the 13 kid models walking the catwalk for GapKids x ED this weekend are differently-abled, and one of those girls is Kayla Kosmalski, a 9-year-old model with Down syndrome. As the Daily Mail reports that she will be Gap’s first-ever Down syndrome model.

“Kayla is just a great little girl,” Katie Driscoll, the founder of Changing the Face of Beauty, told People. “She enjoys the spotlight and the modeling scene, so it was a good fit.”

Driscoll also told People that the timing couldn’t be more perfect to remind us all how important it is to make a point of representing differently-abled children.

“Back to school is an important time for us because the 13 percent of kids [with disabilities] going back aren’t represented by the media,” Driscoll pointed out.

Though this will be Kayla’s first fashion show, the 9-year-old is an old pro when it comes to being in the spotlight. In February, a law was passed in Kayla’s name to allow more financial rights to people who are differently abled. Kayla met with Vice President Joe Biden to celebrate the passing of the act. Kayla is also comfortable being out front in her day-to-day life. She’s participated in several beauty pageants and recently joined a dance team.

Kayla’s mom Amy has some beautiful words re: her daughter and her historic accomplishment:

“Kayla is intelligent and beautiful and kind and like every nine-year-old, sassy,” Amy told the Daily Mail. “It just happens she also has Down syndrome. When we got the diagnosis we decided not to let it hold her back. We want her to follow her dreams and passions just as every child should. As a family we work hard to disprove to the world that individuals with Down syndrome aren’t any less human and deserve to be treated the same as any individual.”

Hear, hear. Congratulations to Kayla this weekend for making history. We know you’re going to crush it on the runway!

Related:

Inspiring 18-year-old model with Down syndrome just landed two new campaigns

This 4-year-old with Down syndrome is starring in an important back-to-school campaign

Image via Twitter

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