Madeline Stuart is a 19-year-old model with Down syndrome who just broke a major barrier: She is the first model with Down syndrome to walk a runway in Russia, as she will be featured in Caspian Fashion Week in Astrakan, Russia, according to The Mighty.
This isn’t Stuart’s first time in a fashion show, however, as she’s walked in New York Fashion Week twice already, and has gained a large fanbase–she has about 600,000 Facebook followers. As of now, she has contracts with brands Manifesta, Living Dead Clothing, GlossiGirl Cosmetics, and even has a doll made after her. As if that isn’t enough to keep someone busy, Stuart is also launching a handbag line with fashion company EverMaya. NBD, right?
This past March, she worked with I Can I Will Australia as an ambassador, which is a nonprofit organization who work to end bullying. The program mentors children with special needs or anyone who is struggling socially–which is absolutely awesome and extremely necessary.
Recently, Stuart posed in a variety of bridal gowns for wedding photographer Sarah Houston, which was particularly monumental for her. Stuart told The Mighty why:
“[The shoot] was to break down barriers, to let people see and understand that people with disabilities get married also.”
We’re glad Stuart is getting the recognition she deserves, and that her hard work is paying off. Hopefully, this will set a positive precedence for other fashion companies and photographers to use more people with special needs and disabilities in their projects.