By Rachel Molina |Staff Writer|
Instead of seeing the same type of women grace the canvas of a photograph and the catwalk, women of different shapes, sizes, and race are now emerging.
While this has become more apparent, 18-year-old Australian native Madeline Stuart, would like to change one more thing.
She wants to pave the way for women with Down syndrome to aspire to their dreams of becoming a model.
Stuart who has Down syndrome, a genetic chromosome disorder, has begun her own mission to become a professional model and is inspiring others along the way.
“I think it is awesome what she is doing,” said student Angela Martinez. “It just goes to show you that anything you put your mind to is possible, it really is inspiring.”
Stuart’s aspiration to become a model challenges the stereotype of the disorder and hopes that her exposure will create acceptance for the people who have it.
Her story has attracted a lot of attention from the media and has received nothing but praise.
“You are beautiful, inside and out” and “Madeline I do not personally know you, but you are an inspiration and no matter what you are loved,” are some of the wonderful comments people have said about her.
As a child, Stuart struggled a lot with her weight which is one of the common side effects of having Down syndrome.
After becoming frustrated with herself when she could no longer keep up with her friends, she decided that it was time to do something about it.
Stuart went on to lose weight by hip hop dancing, swimming and cheer leading and lost over 40 pounds.
When she lost the weight, she gained a whole new confidence about herself.
With her desire to become a model, her inspiring story led geek-wear label, Living Dead, which prides itself on signing models of diverse body types, to hire her.
Since spreading the word on her Facebook page, she has kept fans up to date on how her journey is panning out.
I visited her page and wanted to see how people from around the world felt and was pleasantly surprised with what I read.
One quote that touched me the most was, “You are an inspirational young woman and are very attractive. I don’t know you but I am so proud of you. I wish you the best in your modeling career and anything else you choose to do.”
For me, Stuart is a true inspiration who shouldn’t be looked at as someone who has Down syndrome, but someone who is going after their dreams and making them come true.
Her mother, Rosanne, has been there for her every step of the way and was never discouraged after the doctors had told her Madeline would never achieve anything.
“She really wants to change the way people discriminate against disability,” stated Rosanne in Daily Mail Australia.“People with Down syndrome can do anything, they just do it at their own pace. Give them a chance and you will be rewarded beyond your greatest expectations.”