Such an inspiration! Australian model Madeline Stuart, who was born with Down syndrome, announced she will walk in New York Fashion Week for American label FTL Moda, in association with the Christopher Reeve Foundation, on Sept. 13.
Sharing a pic from the fashion brand on her Instagram on Aug. 11, she wrote, "Guess who is modeling in NY for NY fashion week xx."
But that's not all! The Brisbane native, 18, has had such a positive impact since she was discovered in May (and has collected nearly 450,000 fans on Facebook and 60,000 followers on Instagram) that she will also front two new campaigns. Stuart is the face of accessories brand EverMaya, which has also introduced a line of handbags named after her (five percent of the sales will go to the National Down's Syndrome Society). Activewear line Manifesta has also signed a contract with Stuart.
Despite having Down sndrome and other health problems (including three holes in her heart and a loose valve, all of which she manages with heart medication), Stuart remains completely positive and driven toward her goal. "She's done so well because this isn't about us," Stuart's mother, Rosanna Stuart, told Cosmopolitan. "It's about fighting the fight for all the people out there that are a bit different. She can walk into a room and not judge anyone. I wish I could be more like my daughter."
And the model, who went viral earlier this year after her activewear and swimsuit photos were posted on Facebook, lost nearly 50 pounds by hitting the gym and the pool before international fashion requests came trickling in. "She's worked hard for it," her mother told the Daily Mail in July. "People with Down syndrome can do anything. I think it's time people realized that people with Down syndrome can be sexy and beautiful. We will only continue doing this as long as Maddy is happy doing this. It's only what makes Maddy happy that's important."
Stuart will be the second model with the condition to take to the fashion week catwalk, following in the footsteps of American Horror Story actress, Jamie Brewer, who strutted in New York Fashion Week for Carrie Hammer in February.
What do you think of Maddy's rising modeling career? Tweet with @UsWeekly using the hashtag #stylebyUs!
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