On February 12, fashion designer Carrie Hammer featured a woman with Down syndrome during New York’s Fashion Week. The model, Jamie Brewer, flaunted Hammer’s designs and became the first woman with Down syndrome to walk the runway.
Brewer said, “Young girls and even young women … [see me] and say ‘hey, if she can do it so can I.’ It’s a true inspiration being a role model for any young women to [encourage them] in being who they are and showing who they are.” She added, “Take the risk. Take the chance. Put your heart and soul into it, because when you put your soul into it, you will become what you’ve always dreamed. You, yourself, will become a legend.”
Hammer said, “Jamie is an activist for intellectual disabilities, she is a writer and artist and amazing actress. Jamie really shows everyone that you can become what you imagine. I hope that, watching her, young women know they can become anything, do anything. Your circumstances don’t define you.”
She continued, “What I love about Jamie is that having Down Syndrome is so not a large part of her identity, she is first a famous actress, talented writer, beautiful woman, and [Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities] activist. She’s an inspiring lady!”
This year Hammer was featured in Forbes’ 2015 30 Under 30 for her customizable fashion line and campaign, Role Models Not Runway Models. “I think it’s expanding the definition of beauty from purely skin deep towards passion, purpose and accomplishments. I hope that women and young women see the Role Models who walked on my runway today and start looking up to [Role Models Not Runway Models],” Hammer concluded.
A mother of a child with Down syndrome wrote Hammer and thanked her for decision to include Brewer in New York’s Fashion Week. She said, “Thank you for being the change that is long overdue. I could literally cry every time I read an article talking about your decision to include a model who just happens to have a disability! YOU are what this world needed!”
TODAY.com reports that Jamie is most recognized for her acting roles as Addie in “American Horror Story: Murder House,” Nan in “American Horror Story: Coven,” and Marjorie in “American Horror Story: Freak Show;” however, she has also worked as an advocate for people with intellectual disabilities. Remarkably, at 19, she was elected to the State of Texas ARC Board and worked on the Executive Board and Governmental Affairs Committee.