Kathryn Lindsay
July 13, 2015 12:52 pm

It goes without saying that representation is important in modeling. It doesn’t always go without saying that that should include models with disabilities as well.

Luckily, there’s Madeline Stuart, the 18-year-old model who also happens to have Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder that can cause delays in intellectual and developmental growth. This didn’t stop her from pursuing her dream of modeling, in fact she just landed her first big contract with Manifesta.

Manifesta is a U.S. brand of athletic wear that pushes for the appreciation of all shapes and sizes, and their philosophy fits perfectly with Madeline’s, who recently lost some weight when she decided to live a more healthy lifestyle. This was actually what inspired her modeling career. Healthy and disability-friendly? She sounds like the perfect candidate for any campaign.

That’s exactly how Manifesta feels. They blogged about their excitement to have her on board:

Madeline’s presence in pop culture is important, because it shows that people with Down Syndrome aren’t broken or lesser, they’re different, but just as beautiful. Madeline’s mom puts it perfectly, saying, “I want people to stop saying ‘I’m sorry’ when I tell them my daughter has Down syndrome, because it’s a very naive statement.” A disability is nothing to apologize for. Madeline shows that who is she is is something worth flaunting, inspiring women of all types of bodies and disabilities to do the same. We’re so here for that.

(Image via)

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