Twenty-year-old Aussie model Madeline Stuart is a symbol of courage. Despite being affected with Down syndrome, Stuart has managed to become one of the most popular names in the modeling industry. She is an inspiration for every person who takes a step back in taking his/her dreams to a new height because of some disability.
Brought up in Brisbane, Australia, Stuart has become the first model with Down syndrome to walk on the ramp. She has done her schooling in three phases in three different institutions. From Prep to Grade 5, she attended a private mainstream school while she went to a Special School up to Grade 8. She did her graduation in 2014 from yet another Special School. She also attended literacy program and Health and Lifestyle program after graduation.
Stuart did not know anything about modelling until she attended a Fashion Parade at a local exhibition. As she saw models walking the ramp, she was amazed. She turned to her mother Rosanne and told her that she wanted to be a model.
Her mom said that it would be a difficult task and she would need to maintain her fitness to become a model. She was very active while she was growing up and tried participating in many sports through Special Olympics. She also attended local horse riding school while going to Drama school on weekend. She also competed in Cheerleading.
Her bridal photoshoot with Sarah Houston became a hot topic on social media. When Aussie Network News (ANN) asked Stuart about her choice of such assignment, we found that it was not an easy option for her. “When Isadora from Rixey Manor contacted Rosanne (Madeline’s mother) in regards to Madeline doing a wedding photoShoot she was a little dubious,” an interpreter for Stuart told ANN in an email conversation.
“However, after talking to Isadora, Rosanne realized it would be a wonderful opportunity to break down the stereotype that people with disabilities should not get married. Madeline had the most wonderful experience with everyone involved in the shoot, everyone was so beautiful and fun to hang with. Rosanne and Madeline got to spend a couple of days at the Manor relaxing as NYFW had just ended.”
ANN tries to know more about this special model by talking to her mother Rosanne Stuart during the interview. Here is an excerpt from the interview ANN conducted with the model.
ANN: How did she find modelling as a career? How did she prepare herself for the glam world?
Madeline Stuart: She finds it interesting to be a model. Modeling is all about working hard for long hours. She needs to maintain being in shape. She gives interviews and smiles for the crowd, which is amazing. She has always been fond of fashion and my mom always made sure she gets a sense of fashion since she was a little girl. Her wardrobe always had a wide range of clothing collections starting from beautiful evening gowns to gym wear. She loves putting on makeup and clicking pictures. However, fashion was never her part of life until she entered the modeling world.
ANN: Madeline has been described as the world’s first professional model with Down syndrome. Does she think her condition makes people bias?
Madeline Stuart: Down syndrome is a Genetic Disorder. She has received both positive and negative reactions because of the condition. There are people who have no experience dealing with those with the down syndrome and hence they act naive but there are many people who respect and are excited to see and meet her.
ANN: When did she realize that her career as a model has begun? Please tell more.
Madeline Stuart: Within few days of her pictures going viral, her career took a pace. She started getting modeling assignments immediately. She walked the ramp at NYFW for the first time in September 2015 and then she never looked back.
ANN: Does she have any oops/glorious moments on the ramp to share with fans? Please share with us.
Madeline Stuart: Her most memorable moment was walking on the ramp at NYFW for the first time in front of more than 500 audiences. She received a standing ovation from them.
ANN: What are her future ambitions when she has appeared in Vogue already and enjoyed a ramp walk in three NYFW consecutive seasons?
Madeline Stuart: She wants to take more steps to reach new heights. She wants to travel the world and tell people that she has no Runway left to be walked on. She would love to have the same opportunities enjoyed by other super models.
ANN: What are her future assignments and brand endorsements? Please share more details.
Madeline Stuart: She and her team are discussing several partnerships and endorsements that matches the team’s message or brand. She is expected to appear in a Diet Coke advertisement if the makers call her up.
ANN: What message does she has for aspiring models who want make big in the modeling world despite their disabilities? How can you inspire them?
Madeline Stuart: If you truly desire to be a model then you need to be prepared for a lot of hard work and long working hours. You must also be ready to take rejection sportingly. It is a glamor world but it is not all about glamor and fashion but commitment and hard work. You must be prepared to gain experiences both good and bad.
The interview was conducted via email. Another ANN writer Ishita Ray too worked on it.