Madeline Stuart: Down Syndrome model stars in a romantic wedding shoot

The 18-year-old continues to challenge society’s perception of people living with disabilities.

Linda Sharkey
Thursday 10 March 2016 18:23 GMT
Down Syndrome model Madeline Stuart as a bride in a fairtytale wedding shoot
Down Syndrome model Madeline Stuart as a bride in a fairtytale wedding shoot (Sarah Houston)

You might remember Down Syndrome model Madeline Stuart for walking the catwalk at New York Fashion Week and fronting two clothes campaigns, but her latest gig is a romantic wedding shoot.

The 18-year-old Australian model continues to challenge society’s perception of people living with disability and appears as a fairytale bride, in an embellished white gown, faux fur coats, professional hair and make up, and flowers alongside a male model who plays her handsome groom.

The shoot, commissioned by wedding venue Rixey Manor in Virgina, USA, where it was shot was shot by local wedding photographer Sarah Houston. “This shoot for me, was an opportunity to showcase Madeline's beauty, her personality and her amazing spirit. She's truly such an inspiration to so many!” Houston told The Independent.

The venue owner, Isadora Martin-Dye, explained why seeing a bride with disability should be made normal: “A lot of newly engaged women cannot see themselves as a bride because all the images magazines use are of these tall, thin models. I think that being a bride is a life experience that every women should be able to see herself doing - and definitely not stressing about the fact that they wont look 'perfect' on their wedding day. It's all about show what's really normal right?”

(Sarah Houston)

The Brisbane-born model shared a photo from the shoot with her almost 120,000 Instagram followers, where she shares uplifting messages of positivity and self-appreciation - she even shared her remarkable 18-month weight transformation and workouts, aiming to encourage other to focus on their health, too.

In a interview, she shared what she loves about modelling: “It’s a way to express myself when words don't always come easy. Plus I get to embrace society and hopefully make people feel more comfortable around people with disabilities.”

She has walked the catwalk twice for FTL Moda during New York Fashion Week, following the footsteps of 30-year-old American model and American Horror Story actress Jamie Brewer, who in early 2015 became the first ever Down Syndrome model to walk at New York Fashion Week by appearing at Carrie Hammer to model in her autumn/winter 2015 Role Models Not Runway Models .

(Sarah Houston)

With so much revolutionising the fashion industry right now, both Stuart and Brewer are just two of many game changers who are revolutionising the way the fashion industry thinks about and defines the word “model” – their increasing inclusion aims to change how people perceive those with disabilities.

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