Australian Madeline Stuart is a talented and ambitious international model and dancer who has Down syndrome. She is shattering stereotypes and encouraging diversity in the fashion industry and beyond. Sharing her weight loss journey, as well as her love for modeling and dancing, has helped her grow her following and spread her message: everyone can achieve their dreams.
When did you first decide you wanted to model? And why?
My mum took me to a fashion show in Brisbane, and I fell in love with modeling. I was watching the models on the catwalk, and they looked like they were having so much fun. They looked so beautiful and confident. I knew I wanted to try it.
What were your first modeling gigs like?
They were very exciting; my career began so quickly, it was non-stop in the first few months because I was going viral on Facebook and my photos were everywhere over social media. Getting my first modeling job at New York Fashion Week was so overwhelming. I was so happy and so proud of what I had achieved.
Were you ever met with resistance?
Most people were very welcoming, but sometimes people would expect me to walk for free, for the experience. They didn’t treat me as a professional, even though I am a professional and should be treated the same as other professional models. We are working hard to help people understand that I work extremely hard and am a valued asset to any campaign. Luckily that problem is changing.
How did you overcome the challenges of breaking into the industry?
The way I overcome any challenges I face is to work harder and continue to believe in myself. I know that I’m a professional, and I know what I’m worth so I just continue to prove people wrong if they ever have doubts.
What has been your proudest moment as a model?
My first walk at New York Fashion Week was my proudest moment so far. It was such an incredible experience that I will never forget. The designer I walked for, Hendrik Vermeulen, had the same visions as me to help make the world a better place. He was a pleasure and inspiration to work for.
Who do you hope to help with your journey?
I hope to help everyone! I hope that my journey helps or inspires every person in a different way. I want to change the way the world looks at diversity and inclusion.
What inspires you to keep modeling?
I love it. It’s my job, and I love working. I am very lucky to have a job that I am very passionate about. It is easy for me to stay inspired when you are living your dream.
For more information, please visit madelinestuartmodel.com. Shop at her online store 21reasonswhy.shop for exclusive designs from Stuart’s own label. And follow Stuart’s modeling experience on her social media pages: