Madeline Stuart, an 18-year-old Australian model with Downs Syndrome, has landed two modelling jobs this week as the face of American fitness-wear brand Manifesta and lifestyle label everMaya.
In a recent interview, the Brisbane-born model shared what she loves about modelling: “It’s a way to express myself when words don’t always come easy. Plus I get to embrace society and hopefully make people feel more comfortable around people with disabilities.”
Stuart has an active social media presence, with 39.2k Instagram followers and over 385k fans on Facebook, where she shares uplifting messages of positivity and self-appreciation.
Back in May, she shared her remarkable 18-month weight transformation, aiming to encourage others to begin focusing on their health too.
Manifesta identifies its central aim as to promoting self-love among its customers, with the website’s “manifesta” declaring: “We believe that every woman deserves to feel sexy. We believe that every woman deserves to look amazing. We believe that every woman deserves the chance to achieve greatness.”
The women’s sportswear brand describes itself as having a “non-shaming” approach to sizing and caters to those who struggle to find fitness clothing for their body shape in the mainstream market.
Stuart and Manifesta make an ideal pairing and the announcement of the campaign has been greeted with much applause online, with one fan commenting on Madeline’s Facebook page: “I love your determination! You are living proof dreams come true! You have been a HUGE inspiration for me, and a lot of other people.”
Maya shares the same principle of inclusion. “We are absolutely thrilled to work with a talent like Madeline on our newest national ad campaign.” said Damian Graybelle, everMaya’s president. “All of us at everMaya feel very strongly about creating a brand that is rooted in a spirit of inclusion.”
Earlier this year, American model and American Horror Story actress Jamie Brewer became the first ever Down’s Syndrome model to walk at New York Fashion Week. The 30-year-old was selected by designer Carrie Hammer to model in her autumn/winter 2015 Role Models Not Runway Models show for being an “incredible influential” woman.
Brewer has served on the ARC Governmental Affairs Committee for Texas with the intention of improving legal rights and recognition for disabled people. Speaking to Senators, she argued against the use of the word “retarded” in state legislation.
Both Stuart and Brewer are just two of many game changers who are revolutionising the way the fashion industry thinks about and defines the word “model” – their increasing inclusion aims to change how people perceive those with disabilities.