We first heard about the amazing Madeline Stuart back in May, when the 18-year-old model from Brisbane, Australia, and her mother, Rosanne, set out to change the way those with disabilities are portrayed in the media. We had a feeling that wouldn’t be the last we’d hear of Madeline — and we were right. In July, she landed a major contract with Manifesta, a U.S. brand of athletic wear that represents all shapes and sizes.
“People with Down syndrome can do anything. They just do it at their own pace,” Rosanne told BuzzFeedabout her daughter back in May. “Give them a chance and you will be rewarded beyond your greatest expectations.”
Now, Madeline is totally kicking ass once again after landing an advertising campaign with fashion and lifestyle brand everMaya, and she’ll be the face of an entire line of handbags — all with her name on them.
“The experience working with her has had a positive impact on me personally as well as professionally,” Damian Graybelle, president of everMaya, told Mashable. “I just never expected that our campaign with Madeline would have had such an [effect] on people. I have spoken with so many parents of children with special needs that have told me how our partnership with her has given them hope and changed their perspectives on what the future holds for their children.”
A total of 5% of the proceeds for the handbag line will be going to the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS). “The generous donations that will come as a result of this new handbag line will directly support our mission at NDSS, as we fight for the rights, values and dignity of all individuals with Down syndrome and our families,” Sara Hart Weir, president of NDSS, said in a press release.
But that’s not all: Madeline also recently signed on to walk New York Fashion Week (NYFW) this September with MODA in association with the Christopher Reeve Foundation. “When we were asked to do New York Fashion Week, it didn’t surprise me,” Rosanne told Cosmopolitan about her daughter’s success. “I don’t think anything really surprises me anymore. She’s been asked to do a lot of stuff and I was hoping she’d get asked to do NYFW but I assumed it would happen. I hope that doesn’t sound too pretentious.”
For Rosanne and Madeline, it’s not just about the modeling. It’s about the cause. “The thing I’d like people to take away from this is to not discriminate,” Rosanne explained to Cosmopolitan. “Don’t judge a book by its cover. I would just like people to accept, love, and show kindness. That’s all this is about for us. The modeling is fun and everything, but it’s just a vehicle to get the message out. I think that’s why she’s done so well, is because this isn’t about us. It’s about fighting the fight for all the people out there that are a bit different that need to be loved.”
Rosanne is confident that the world is ready for her daughter to be in the spotlight — and we totally agree. “The world wants to be inclusive, it just hasn’t had anyone on such a platform that they were able to do it easily,” Rosanne told Cosmopolitan. “. . . Imagine in 10 years what society will be like for people with disabilities. It’s not going to be how it is now, it’s going to be the norm. It’s probably going to be cool to hang out with someone who has an intellectual disability because you know that they care more about emotions than they do about the materialistic world. Everyone’s going to want that friend to teach them what true love is.”
But the real reason Madeline’s been totally taking off is because of her self-confidence, Rosanne explained to Cosmopolitan. “Maddie truly loves herself,” she said. “She’ll tell you she’s gorgeous. She’ll tell you she’s wonderful. I mean, I tell her every day how great she is, but she truly believes it . . . If you can believe in yourself, you’re going to hold your head higher. That’s why people love Madeline. She will walk into a room and not judge anyone. I wish I could be more like my daughter.”
Madeline, congratulations on your amazing success. You deserve it, and you are changing the face of modeling as we know it with every badass strut down that catwalk.
Thank you Giggles.com