Before we talk about these talented people, it’s necessary to understand why it’s an achievement for them to make it to the big screen. Down syndrome is a genetic disorder. One in every 691 babies in the United States has Down syndrome. Overall, about 400,000 people in the US have Down syndrome, and that makes it one of the most common genetic disorders. It’s caused due to formation of an extra copy of a particular pair of chromosomes. In a normal human being, there are 23 pairs of chromosomes that contain all the genetic data responsible for our physical and mental characteristics.
However, when an individual is born with an additional copy of the 21st pair of chromosomes, it causes physical alteration such as low muscle tone, and upward slant to eyes, single deep crease across the centre of the palm, and small stature. The syndrome also affects the intellectual abilities in some cases.
An adult with Down syndrome can have mental abilities similar to those of an 8-9-year old along with poor immune function. The condition also makes them vulnerable to other health issues such as congenital heart disease, keukemia, thyroid disorders. etc.
Madeline Stuart at New York Fashion Week
Madeline Stuart is an 18-year-old model with Down syndrome from Brisbane. She will take the catwalk for FTL Moda, in association with the Christopher Reeve Foundation, in New York Fashion Week scheduled for September 13, 2015. With this announcement, Stuart has hit the headlines. Also, her social media fan following has increased. She collected over 450,000 fans on Facebook and 60,000 on Instagram. Earlier, Stuart had appeared in a campaign with EverMaya.
Four-year-old Cora Slocum in Livie & Luca Campaign
Cora Slocum is a four-year-old girl with Down syndrome. She recently made it to the Livie & Luca latest campaign. The brand designer for the shoe company Brittany Suzuki and Amie Garcia, co-founder of the company, are all praise for little Cora for natural expression and joyous response during the photoshoot.
Behind her achievement lies great efforts of Changing the Face of Beauty, a non-profit organization that advocates opportunity for people with disabilities in advertising and media industry.
Karrie Brown in Wet Seal campaign
Karrie Brown always wanted to be a model, according to her parents. Now, she is 17-year-old and has Down syndrome. Despite the condition, her parents encouraged her, created a Facebook page for her. Daily, they’d update photos of Karrie in different outfits from Wet Seal’s plus size line. Wet Seal’s plus size clothing line happened to be a perfect fit for Karrie.
And, Wet Seal noticed her popularity sooner than later, and hired her for their new campaign. Karrie and her parents didn’t let her disability stop her from gaining popularity on online as well as offline media.
Well, such people are a source of inspiration for others suffering from similar disabilities. Media houses, fashion brands, and studios need to see beauty that lies behind flesh and bone. Also, NGOs like Changing the Face of Beauty deserve appreciation for their efforts.