Teen With Down Syndrome Becomes a Supermodel, Challenges Us to See Disability Differently

International   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   May 19, 2015   |   12:21PM   |   Sydney, Australia

18-year-old Madeline Stuart has Down syndrome but refuses to let that stop her from her dream of becoming a model. On her Facebook page she said she is pursuing modeling to “help change societies view of people with Down Syndrome.”

According to Buzzfeed, the woman’s mother, Roseanne Stuart, said her daughter has struggled with her weight throughout her life but recently picked up dance, swimming and cheerleading. Roseanne said, “I think it is time people realized that people with Down syndrome can be sexy and beautiful and should be celebrated.”

Roseanne said that culture is much more accepting of people with disabilities now than when her daughter was first born. She said, “Things were a lot different 18 years ago. I remember having her in a [stroller] when she was a baby and small-minded people telling me she should not be out in public. Even her doctors said Madeline would never achieve anything. But things are changing every day and people are more accepting of what they don’t understand yet.”

Additionally, Roseanne explained that her daughter has become very confident despite her disability and she constantly reminds her that she’s perfect just the way she is. She said, “I have made a point of never letting anyone be critical of her. [I tell Maddy] every day how amazing, funny, smart, beautiful, [and] wonderful she is. It’s that confidence — and beauty, both inside and out — that Rosanne wants others to see. People need to see how she shines, how her personality just bursts out.”

She concluded, “People with Down syndrome can do anything. They just do it at their own pace. Give them a chance and you will be rewarded beyond your greatest expectations.”


As LifeNews previously reported, earlier this year Jamie Brewer became the first woman with Down syndrome to walk the runway during New York’s Fashion Week. 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.”

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; and at 19, she was elected to the State of Texas ARC Board and worked on the Executive Board and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Although it is true that culture has changed a lot in regards to accepting children with disabilities, many women still believe abortion is the best solution when faced with a fetal abnormality. In fact, 90% of women who receive the prenatal diagnosis that their child will have Down syndrome end their life through abortion. This statistic should remind pro-lifers that our work in protecting the disabled is not finished. It is critical that we pass legislation to protect unborn babies with Down syndrome, as well as children with other disorders.