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Model with Down's syndrome wows New York Fashion Week

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Australian model Madeline Stuart has made her debut at New York Fashion Week - breaking barriers in the process.

The 18-year-old Australian has Down's syndrome and is the first professional model with the condition to appear at the event.

American Horror Story actress Jamie Brewer became the first woman with Down's syndrome to appear on the catwalk at New York in February.

Stuart, who flew for 14 hours from her home country to attend, walked for Hendrik Vermeulen in a show jointly organised by fashion producers FTL Moda, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and the UK campaign group Models of Diversity.

madeline stuart

Stuart, who flew for 14 hours from her home country to attend, walked for Hendrik Vermeulen in a show jointly organised by fashion producers FTL Moda, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and the UK campaign group Models of Diversity.

Madeline's mother Rosanne Stuart told AFP that her daughter was “very excited” to be in the show, which was held at the famous Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station.

 “I think it's amazing that she's been given this opportunity. It's a fantastic platform for us to get our beliefs across on inclusion and disability.”

hendrik Vermeulen, Rosanne Stuart, Madeline Stuart (front center) and Jean-Daniel Meyer-Vermeulen

Hendrik Vermeulen, Rosanne Stuart, Madeline Stuart and Jean-Daniel Meyer-Vermeulen

“She likes to be in the spotlight and she likes people to notice her and she thinks she's pretty cool,” Rosanne  added.

Madeline hit the headlines earlier this year after gaining thousands of social media followers and landing two modelling contracts. Lifestyle brand EverMaya created ‘The Madeline’ in her honour and donates proceeds to the National Down Syndrome society, while Madeline is the face of Glossigirl cosmetics.

Stuart speaks to the media on Madeline's behalf, explaining that it can be difficult for strangers to understand her daughter's speech.

“I think people are a lot more open now,”  she said. “Social media has brought everything to the forefront. Things aren't hidden anymore.” 

The mother-and-daughter team now have one more stop in America, where Madeline will collect a prize as model of the year.

Madeline Stewart

Modelling for Hendrik Vermeulen

 “Bionic model” Rebekah Marine, who was born without a right arm, also walked in the show.

 “I think the fashion industry has come a long way,” she told AFP. “It's a challenge but we're definitely making progress and it's so awesome to be a part of that.”

@annasloud @ftlmoda #touchbionics #ftlmoda #nyc #nyfw

A photo posted by Rebekah Marine (@rebekahmarine) on

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