An 18-year-old aspiring model from Brisbane, Australia is giving the world an opportunity to re-think how we see people with physical challenges. Her story gives a snapshot into the added challenges teens with disabilities face and how they are stereotyped into limiting categories. She is an inspiration for anyone feeling they have barriers keeping them from pursuing their dreams.
Breaking The Modeling Mold – Madeline Stuart
Madeline Stuart is the kind of teen girl that draws people to her. Beyond being an aspiring model, she is a dancer, basketball player, swimmer, gymnast, and cheerleader. Madeline has Down Syndrome, which is one of the reasons she is pursuing a career as a model. She hopes “to change [society’s] view of people with Down Syndrome… exposure will help create acceptance in life”.
Unfortunately, many people hold negative and untrue assumptions about people with Down Syndrome. Madeline’s mother Rosanne told Buzzfeed about hurtful comments that were made to her when Madeline was a child: “I remember having [Madeline] in a [stroller] when she was a baby and small-minded people telling me she should not be out in public… Her doctors told me she would never achieve anything.”
Proving them wrong is exactly what Madeline is doing. She has already accomplished so much in her short lifetime, and her future is extremely bright. Her mother shared what she believes about her daughter and others with Down Syndrome: “People with Down Syndrome can do anything… Give them a chance and you will be rewarded beyond your greatest expectations.”
Changing the world’s perspective towards people with Down Syndrome isn’t Madeline’s only objective. She is also passionate about inspiring others to pursue physical health through exercise and nutrition. “14 months ago I was overweight and decided I needed to change my lifestyle and eating habits so I would live a long healthy life… Now, I have decided I would like to help others to also achieve this,” Madeline explained.
How We Can Carry Madeline’s Message Forward:
Madeline’s amazing story offers great inspiration for all moms to think about how we can help our daughters break through negative stereotypes and assumptions that have been placed on them by others. Share this story with your daughter and her friends and ask them about what they might do the next time someone places them in a category that doesn’t fit who they are. We would love to hear their stories and feature them on our spotlight page.
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