You may have heard the name Madeline Stuart before. She is the Australian model with Down syndrome who is taking the fashion world by storm.
The journey of Madeline, 22, with the support of her mum Roseanne Stuart, has been nothing short of inspirational. In fact, even at birth, Roseanne knew her daughter would grow up to do incredible things.
"When she was born, the doctors and nurses came to me and they gave me all of this literature which wasn't positive," Roseanne said.
"But for me, there was no option."
Roseanne has always had one goal in mind for her daughter and that was to afford her all the opportunities that life could give, and now she wants others to do the same.
"I wanted others to see how amazing people with Down syndrome are," she said. "And now, we're putting it out there so that people can see that there's hope, and just because you have a disability, doesn't mean you can't achieve your dreams."
In 2014, Madeline and Roseanne went on a family trip to the Ekka in Queensland; Madeline had never seen a fashion show before.
When they walked through the door, Roseanne realised "she had made a very big mistake, because Madeline is the sort of person who wants to do everything" and modelling would be no exception.
"As soon as she saw the models, she said, 'Mum, me model'," Roseanne recalled. "And I believe just because you have a child with a disability, it doesn't mean they can't achieve things."
So Roseanne got Madeline a personal trainer and the then 19-year-old became fit and strong and was ready to do her first stint at modelling.
"We did a photoshoot, because I thought that's what modelling would be for her," Roseanne said. "And she kicked me out of the room!"
"A month later, I looked at the photos and I was absolutely flabbergasted! I'm a realist and my daughter was always beautiful to me but also, models are 5 ft 9 and 5 ft 10, and they walked the catwalk," she said. Roseanne wasn't sure this would be possible for her daughter, until the photos were seen by the entire world.
"We shared the photos online and said, 'love yourself' and 'stay fit, it will give you a long life' as we wanted to encourage people to stay healthy".
Encourage people they did.
The photo went viral and was seen by over 7.2million people in just one week and published in over 150 countries around the world.
Within a month, Madeline had three different fashion houses asking for her to do New York Fashion Week.
"The first ever catwalk she did was in New York," Roseanne said. Now, Madeline does 18 shows per season.
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Madeline has walked the runway the last six seasons of New York Fashion Week and has modelled in London, Dubai and in Australia for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Last February she was named the Number One Fashion Game Changer in Forbes magazine.
Just recently, Madeline was on board the P&O Melbourne Cup cruise which set sail during the racing festival.
The campaign saw Madeline launch a first-of-its kind fashion campaign that promoted diversity and inclusion on and off the fashion circuit.
During this time, she rubbed shoulders with the best of the Aussie fashion biz, including the gorgeous Megan Gale.
We can only be inspired by Madeline and are so excited to see what her future brings!
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The Australian Women's WeeklyFeb 17, 2019