Madeline Stuart, a young woman who stands as a role model and advocate for diversity in the modelling world, was kind enough to answer some questions for TROU. Below you will learn more about her work and her views on romance, dating, and everyone’s favourite fairy tale films.
TLM: Would you please tell me a little about yourself and your career for any readers out there who aren’t familiar with your work?
MS: I’m Madeline Stuart, I’m an international model with down syndrome (the first ever), I love to dance and I spread the message of inclusion and kindness throughout the world. As for my career, it continues to grow rapidly everyday! It started in April 2015 when a photo of mine went viral after I lost 40 pounds. From there I grew all over social media and I was asked to walk New York Fashion Week, Paris Fashion week, London Fashion week and so many more. I’ve travelled all over the world working in the past 3 years and have loved every moment.
TLM: What are your sources of inspiration that helped get you to where you are today?
MS: My mum. She is my biggest inspiration! She also handles all the business side of my modelling, so she is such a big help on where I am today. My own determination and strong will also helped to get me to where I am today.
TLM: I saw that you shared a lovely picture of you and your boyfriend on your Instagram page. We, at TROU, are all about inclusive love stories, would you like to share with the readers your own love story, or experiences being in love?
MS: I have been with Robbie for over 3 and half years, I didn’t realise but he had a crush on me for a long time before we started dating, I had a lot of boys that were just friends and I did not really have any romantic feelings towards any of them but Robbie grew on me and I ended up falling in love with him. Now I could not imagine my life without him, we talk every day when I am home and try to talk when I am travelling as much as possible but it is hard with the time difference.
TLM: Do you have a favourite love story, poem, or photograph you would like to recommend to the readers?
TLM: What advice would you give to someone interested in dating a person with Down Syndrome, or other types of challenges?
MS: The same advice I would give to anyone, be kind, be honest, be true. Everyone is the same and everyone one wants to be loved and respected, people with Down syndrome don’t come from a different planet.
TLM: In your opinion, how has the entertainment industry done with representing love stories of people who live with physical or mental differences?
MS: I think there is lots of beautiful stories out there about people with and without disabilities.
TLM: Do you think social media has helped people become more aware and accepting of those living with challenges?
MS: I think everyone lives with challenges, just because I have down syndrome does not mean I have more or less challenges than you, my challenges may be just a little different sometimes. On the whole, [everyone feels] self conscious sometimes. Do you struggle to get out or bed in the morning as that pillow is just so comfortable? Do you put on weight if you eat too much chocolate? These are all challenges we all face in life
If you are asking do I think social media has made people more accepting of disabilities than the answer is yes, people are scared of those things they do not understand, so the more people see images of people with disabilities the more they realise we are all the same inside and we all have different packages on the outside, just like you and me. I also think it has definitely helped people become more aware of inclusion.
TLM: What are your personal favourite, inclusive or diverse, social media accounts the readers might be interested in following?
MS: I love Melange and Winnie Harlow.
TLM: Many of us grew up watching Disney fairy tales or reading fairy tales where the prince rescues the princess. If you could write your own fairy tale for Disney to make a movie, what would you add or change to make it more inclusive?
MS: I would definitely add more people of diversity, whether they be gay, trans, coloured, different cultures and I would also like to see more strong women because in reality most of the time women are the ones saving the day, looking after the families and running our world.
Dislamer – “Madeline Stuart’s answers were written with the assistance of her mum, Rosanne Stuart”