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Success Stories in the IDD Community: Madeline Stuart

Madeline Stuart was born on November 13, 1996. She is seen as the first professional model with Down syndrome. She was born in Australia. Stuart has participated in many fashion weeks all around the world. Some of these include Paris Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, Runway Dubia, Russian Fashion Week, Fashion Week China, and more. 

Modeling Beginning

Her modeling aspirations began in 2014. Her mother took her to a fashion show in Brisbane, Australia. After attending the event, she decided she wanted to be involved in modeling. Her mother jump started her career when she decided to create an online campaign for Stuart in 2015. The goal of the campaign was to secure a modeling contract for Stuart. Her campaign gained traction and Stuart became popular online. This led to her signing two modeling contracts, one with a fitness brand and one with a handbag brand. She also began doing bridal photoshoots.

Challenges

Madeline Stuart eventually launched her own fashion label, 21 Reasons Why by Madeline Staurt. She debuted her label at the New York Fashion Week. Although Stuart has found much success in modeling, her life was not always easy. When she was ten days old, she went into heart failure and had to have surgery. Medical professionals assured her mother that her life would be nothing but difficult because of her medical challenges. Madeline’s mother was determined to make her life as fulfilling as possible. Throughout her life, Madeline also struggled with her weight. In an effort to become a model, she lost 44 pounds. She posted a photo of her before and after weight loss and went viral online. 

Advocacy

Stuart is not only a model, but an advocate for people with disabilities and diversity. She has accepted many awards for her advocacy. An example of that is the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award from Global Down Syndrome that she received in 2018. She is also a  brand ambassador for Australian Foundation for Disability

Madeline Stuart has broken down many barriers for people with disabilities because of her successes. She became the first professional model with Down syndrome and advocates for people with disabilities and diversity. 

Independent Wedding Shoot

Independent Fashion Week

BBC

Madeline Stuart Model 

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