Madeline Stuart, the 18-year-old Australian model who has Down Sydrome, walked the runway with confidence during New York Fashion Week on Sunday.
Stuart modeled Hendrik Vermeulen’s 2016 Spring collection at Vanderbilt Hall. She wore a stunning white gown with metallic overlay on the bodice, as well as shiny and sheer separates. And because you’re not officially initiated into the modeling world until you wear crazy makeup down the runway, shimmery blue face paint accented both looks.
The model’s website says Stuart “loves the camera” and that she’s working to change perceptions of Down Syndrome. “Maddy really wants to change the way people discriminate against disability through gaining attention through social media. She wants people to know that Down Syndrome is a blessing, something to be celebrated,” her website says.
Stuart’s career has been taking off this year. The Brisbane native landed two major contracts, modeling in national ads for Manifesta, a fitness brand, and everMaya, an eco-friendly handbag label.
“We are absolutely thrilled to work with a talent like Madeline on our newest national ad campaign,” Damian Graybelle, everMaya’s president, said in a statement at the time. “All of us at everMaya feel very strongly about creating a brand that is rooted in a spirit of inclusion and providing opportunities for those who begin life with barriers to success.” The company even created “The Madeline,” a handbag named after her.
RELATED VIDEO: Model with Down Syndrome makes NYFW history!
She is one of many models gaining visibility for the diversity they’re bringing to runways — check out our roundup of other fashionable women who have been changing the face of fashion this season!
What do you think of Madeline’s runway walk?
–Sheila Cosgrove Baylis