Madeline has Down's Syndrome, occuring when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This added genetic material alters the course of physical and cognitive development in the indivudual. However, each person born with Down's Sydrome is unique, just like the rest of us. It's not indicative of the strengths, talents, intelligence or personality one possesses.
The second step she aims to achieve? 'Redefining beauty' - society's perception of what beauty really is. She's said "exposure will help create acceptance." Madeline, we share the same goals. It's what, in time, I aspire to do with One Girl and The Sea.
Let's meet this globe-trotting beauty.
Hi Madeline! Firstly let me start by congratulating you on becoming the first face of ‘GlossiGirl’ Cosmetics! What an achievement! Is their message of ‘thriving not just surviving’ important to you?
Yes of course, everyone must live life the way that makes them happy and fulfilled, but the message of loving and inclusion not discrimination and disillusion is more important to me.
What other brands are you working with at the moment?
EverMaya as they have just launched a new handbag using me as their inspiration. They are donating 5% of the profits to the National Down Syndrome Association so that is amazing. Plus mum says their bags are the best quality the only bag that can survive all her requirements.
You’re an accomplished dancer, cheerleader and gymnast - why do you want to be a model?
Modelling is a vehicle to help people see that everyone is capable of living life to the fullest. It shows people that everyone is equal and if people accept me than hopefully they will realise it is not scary to walk up to someone and say hi, even if they have a disability they are still just like you and they love friendship and acceptance. I think that if I can be a model it truly goes to show that beauty is not only skin deep, I think our society is starting to believe that to be a true model you need to be a role model and I hope I can be that for people. I believe in love, inclusion and equality. Happiness and being a good person is far more important than being the most physically beautiful person on the planet. Being healthy is far more important than anything and I just don’t mean physical health, which of course is very important but mental health and emotional health. We should all love ourselves and try to love each other.
What’s the best thing about being a model?
Smiling and meeting new friends. I love the wonderful people I am meeting and the amazing experiences I am having.
Do you have a particular role model yourself?
Yes my Mum.
You’ve had overwhelming support from the public and it all started with a Facebook page created by your Mum. Can you describe the special relationship that you and Mum share?
My Mum and I have a wonderful relationship, she always puts me first and looks after me. She is my biggest supporter and has never let life slip by without living it to the fullest, even if sometimes I worry her by doing scaring things like parasailing.
How does it feel having inspired so many young girls who share your dream?
I love hearing from them on my social media and it warms my heart that I can help them.
From experience, I know how important it is to believe in yourself to accomplish your goals. Have you ever let Down's Syndrome stop you from achieving anything?
Downs syndrome has never stopped me from trying my best to achieve my goals, some things I can’t do the same way other people do, my speech is not always clear, even though my Mum can understand me, other people struggle sometimes but I still try and I am getting better every day.
Modeling has given you the platform to share your message or mission with the world. Can you tell us a bit about that?
As I said above this whole experience has given my Mum and I the chance to advocate for special needs. It is our passion to create a world where everyone is included, loved and respected no matter their ability, race, gender, age or beliefs as long as they are not hurting others intentionally or being mean, everyone deserves the same chances.
What’s the next big thing you want to achieve Maddy?
I would like to bring out my own line of clothing and also a picture diary or book on eating healthy, exercising and acceptance.
Lastly, can you name four things you can’t live without?
My Mum, my friends, chicken wraps and sport.