Madeline Stuart is a beautiful, confident, energetic, and active teenager pursuing interests ranging from dancing and cheerleading to swimming. She is an aspiring model and has already done a shoot with the Living Dead clothing label. She also has Down syndrome.
Stuart, 18, had struggled with her weight a year and a half ago when she decided to add swimming to her routine of dancing and cheerleading. She also cut fast food from her diet. The lifestyle changes helped her to lose 40 pounds, and she became much more confident in herself and took an interest in modeling.
Stuart explains her modeling mission on her Facebook page, which has already garnered close to 200,000 fans.
“[I] would like to be a model, modelling will help change societies view of people with Down Syndrome, exposure will help to create acceptance in life.”
According to Stuart’s mother, people were not accepting of Madeline as a baby.
“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,” she told Buzzfeed. “But things are changing every day, and people are more accepting of what they don’t understand yet.”
Kristie Hagen of the National Down Syndrome Society has also praised Stuart for her accomplishments, telling Yahoo Parenting, “When people like Maddy get out and show who they are, and that their ability is more important than any disability they may have, it brings awareness to fact that people should not be limited by what others think of them.”
“I think it is time people realized that people with Down syndrome can be sexy and beautiful and should be celebrated,” she said.