Model with Down syndrome trying to change fashion industry
An 18-year-old aspiring model with Down syndrome is trying to change the fashion industry.
Madeline Stuart, from Brisbane, Queensland, has worked hard to lose weight - and is now looking for a modelling agent to kickstart her career.
Her mother Roseanne said: "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."
She continued: "I think it's time people realised that people with Down syndrome can be sexy and beautiful and should be celebrated."
Madeline decided to focus on her health and fitness last year to lose almost 10kg. Her weight gain had been linked to her genetic condition and problems with her heart.
She wrote on her Facebook page, which has garnered 100,000 fans in just 10 days: "Modelling will help change society's view of people with Down syndrome... Exposure will help to create acceptance."
Her mother said: "In the beginning, Maddie struggled as she is very habitual, and was used to eating a lot so she had to break that cycle."
While she was unable to do cartwheels or handstands because of her weight, she now swims five times a week and is involved in cheerleading and hip-hop dance.
She also does cricket training with the special Olympics.
Roseanne said she tells her daughter every day how wonderful she is.
"She is not insecure in the least bit," she said, "but I have made a point of never letting anyone be critical of her and telling her every day how amazing, funny, smart, beautiful, wonderful she is."
Roseanne also said she hopes her child's transformation will help raise awareness of what it is like to raise a child with Down Syndrome.
"I actually feel sad for people who may never experience the unconditional love of someone like Maddy," said the single mother.
"I won lotto the day she was born."
Roseanne is convinced that Maddy's happy-go-lucky, caring spirit will also help her in her aspirations as a model.
"She will win millions of hearts if she gets the chance," Roseanne said.
Source: Metro, ABC News