Ellie Goldstein, a British model with Down’s syndrome who featured in a Gucci beauty campaign, is forging a path for the underrepresented in society, especially the disabled.
“People should give us a chance”, she says.
“She is a model in more ways than one”, said SPUC’s Michael Robinson.
Goldstein, 18, from Ilford in the UK, has used her notoriety as a model to gain representation for the disabled in the media.
Becoming a model at the age of 15, Goldstein did not let her Down’s syndrome get in the way of her dreams, signing with Zebedee Management, which promotes models with disabilities.
“Representation is very important to me”, she said. “Let the world see that anyone can model and act with a disability… There needs to be more positivity out there and people should give us a chance and not be so ignorant.”
Goldstein has since appeared in Vogue Italia, modelling Gucci’s mascara L’Obscur for the “authentic person who uses makeup to tell their story of freedom, in their way”.
“It feels so amazing and fabulous to be part of the Gucci Beauty campaign”, said Goldstein. “I feel so proud of myself, especially to have been chosen for this.”
Her message to people with disabilities, including Down’s syndrome, is to “be yourself and don’t worry about what other people think of you”.
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Michael Robinson, SPUC Director of Communications, said: “Ellie’s pioneering career is helping society to see that the disabled are just as worthy of representation, which is especially important at a time when people with Down’s syndrome are being targeted for abortion.
“One such example of bigotry against the disabled occurred last year, when an ITV Emmerdale plot featured a baby that was aborted because it had Down’s syndrome. Bridget Jones actress Sally Phillips, who has a child with Down’s syndrome, condemned the storyline as ‘thoughtless’ and ‘irresponsible’.
“It is vital that we push back against such negative and frankly dangerous portrayals of disability in the media. In this sense, Ellie’s career is a shining light in the darkness, illuminating the largest, yet most underrepresented, minority in the world – the disabled.
“Ellie is not marked by her disability but is instead defined by the joy and positivity that she brings to those around her, as well as those who see her pictures, expressing her true self, authentically and without apology.”