A mother whose toddler was rejected from a modelling shoot because he has Down’s Syndrome has been flooded with thousands of messages of support online, and has sparked a debate about beauty standards.
Megean Nash, from the US state of Georgia, sent a photo of her 15-month-old son Asher to a local advertising agency which was casting for children’s clothing brand OshKosh B’Gosh.
When she asked the agency why they had not responded to her, they said that the clothing brand hadn’t asked for “a baby with special needs”, NBC News affiliate KGW.com reported.
Ms Nash hit back: “Did they say they were not casting a baby with special needs?”. She added that Asher met all of the requirements for the casting, including size, eye colour and hair colour.
The agency admitted that the brand hadn’t, and apologised. It has since pledged to be more inclusive.
Spurred on by the incident and the work of the Changing the Face of Beauty campaign pushing for brands to accept models who aren’t able-bodied, Ms Nash shared Asher’s image on the Kids with Down’s Syndrome Facebook page.
The images, taken by photographer Crystal Barbee, show Asher posing in a denim shirt and a stripy bow-tie, and playing with sky-blue paint.
The post has been shared over 110,000 times, and liked by over 92,000 users.
Beneath the image, people argued that agencies should be open to casting people with Down’s Syndrome in campaigns.
“We are working with Changing the Face of Beauty organization and trying to get Oshkosh to use him in their advertisements,” Ms Nash wrote beneath the image, stressing that the agency rather than OshKosh B’Gosh had rejected her son.
Ms Nash is set to meet with Osh Kosh's parent company Carter on 25 October.
Asher's rejection comes as people with Down's syndrome fight to change beauty perceptions. In 2011, photographer Eva Snoijink launched the Down's Upside photography project where she interviewed and photographed over 100 children with the condition.
Earlier this year, Madeline Stuart, the first professional adult model with Down's syndrome, walked her third season at New York Fashion week. She has previously been featured in Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Paper, Elle and Marie Claire.
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