COURTESY OF VOGUE
To hear the story of Madeline Stuart is lesson in inspiration. As the world’s first supermodel with Down’s Syndrome, this brave beauty is breaking down barriers left and right. She’s walked in New York Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, and London Fashion Week; she’s been featured in Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Marie Claire (to name but a few); she’s launched her own clothing line (21 Reasons Why); and is active in charitable pursuits. At just 20-years-old, Stuart has accomplished plenty.
It all started when a social media photo of her astounding weight loss journey went viral. And while this sounds like a life of non-stop glamour, it’s Stuart’s resilience that got her here. Her commitment and determination in her weight loss journey and aspirations to enter the modeling world are inspiring. Now, she’s changing people’s perception of living with a disability.
We had the pleasure of connecting with Stuart to hear more about her journey and what’s next for the talented young model.
What does it feel like to be the first professional model with down syndrome?
It feels unbelievable, I feel so blessed and fortunate that I have been given this opportunity, I also feel so proud that people have accepted me and supported me so I could achieve such a wonderful career. My followers on social media really have made my life amazing, without their support and without them sharing my story so it went viral so many times I don’t think I would have achieved all the amazing things I have done.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a model?
When I was 17, I went to a fashion show with my mum and I fell in love with the catwalk as soon as I saw how much fun the models were having and how beautiful they all looked.
What did it feel like to walk at New York Fashion Week?
There are no words to describe the feeling, it was truly amazing, so exciting, a dream come true.
What is a typical day like for you?
Well if you had asked me this a couple of weeks ago when fashion season was just coming to an end I would have said, wake up, work out, get into hair and makeup or do a fitting and then prepare for the catwalk. Now that fashion season is over it is wakeup have breakfast, get ready for my classes, go to gym and dance and maybe do a photoshoot a couple of times a week. I always go back to reality a few months of the year between May and August.
You’re also passionate about fitness, what’s your favorite workout?
Without a doubt boxing, I love it and love the social interaction with my personal trainer.
How do you hope to inspire others?
I hope I can inspire them to be healthy, to love themselves and have faith in themselves. To know they are capable and beautiful just the way they are. I hope that my success can show them that anything is possible if you work hard and never give up.
How would you describe yourself?
I think I am very positive, very active, love my friends and family, but most of all I am not judgmental and I always want to help people.
Tell us about your philanthropy work and causes closest to your heart.
I try to work with as many charities as possible, unfortunately there is so many people that need our help so I really do want to be there and to do as much as possible. Of course the different abilities community is closest to my heart but if it is a legitimate charity then I will never not help someone.
What gave you the idea to launch a clothing line?
People were always saying they loved my sense of style and wanted to know what labels I was wearing so it only seemed natural to bring out my own collection. I am currently working on my next collection for September fashion week later this year.
Tell us about your documentary.
B-Reel a Swedish film company has been filming me for the past two years and only finished in December, they hope to release the movie-length documentary later this year which is very exciting; it is a story of my journey to become a supermodel.
What’s next for you in your career?
At the moment I am concentrating on my clothing label but I will be back on the road later this year and will be modeling at all the key fashion shows in New York, Paris, London, Milan, etc.
What inspires you?
Life inspires me, I want to live life to its fullest, to experience as much as possible and to have as much fun as possible on this journey. We are not here for a long time so we should make every moment count.