American Girl Catalog Features 4-Year-Old Model with Down Syndrome: 'It's a Big Deal'
When the October American Girl catalog launched, fans saw little Ivy Kimble in its pages just like any other model, wearing a sparkly red dress as she held her baby doll close.
But Ivy’s presence in the catalog marked a special moment, as the 4-year-old has Down syndrome.
“It’s a big deal for her,” her mom Kristin Kimble told WLS-TV. “There’s not a lot of print or media with a lot of kids with Down syndrome.”
In the spread, Ivy stands in front of a Christmas tree alongside another young model, wearing her hair in pigtails and holding her doll, which sports a matching red dress.
“She’s adorable and great to work with, and the shots we captured with her for our holiday catalogues are beautiful,” a spokeswoman for American Girl tells PEOPLE. “We look forward to continuing our work in celebrating all girls.”
Kristin, who is based in Chicago, said Ivy booking the ad was not only exciting for her family — which includes three other daughters — but for anyone with a disability not used to seeing themselves in the media.
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“For us, we want to keep seeing kids of all abilities out there in print,” she said. “I love that these companies are trying to make a conscious effort to continue to put them in print. My hope is that it continues to grow, but it stops being a conscious effort, and just becomes natural.”
Ivy’s modeling shots have already opened up conversations about Down syndrome — something Kristin said she hopes will continue as a means of normalizing disability.
“My kids, people are asking them about Down syndrome now. ‘Oh, Ivy has Down syndrome and she’s in the American Girl catalog?’” Kristin said. “Yeah, everyone can be an American Girl and that’s the great thing about it.”
Stuart also became the first model with Down syndrome to land a beauty contract, signing with Glossigirl in 2015.
Meanwhile, American Girl has taken steps in recent years to be more inclusive in their product line, too, offering customers things like a diabetes care kit and wheelchairs for their dolls.