Madeline Stuart is only 21 and already a global trailblazer! Recognised as the world’s first professional model with Down syndrome, Madeline has rocked the runways of New York Fashion Week and most recently London Fashion Week!
After making her mark three years ago, this Australian born inspiration is in high demand from fashion designers to Forbes Magazine dubbing her ’number one for Diversity in the Fashion Industry, for “normalizing Down syndrome”.’
Editor Tee Cee talks to Madeline for Skool Girl’s ‘Not Your Average Girl’ feature and finds out about her life and fun hobbies behind the runway…
Wow Madeline, how does it feel to have walked the runways of London Fashion Week?
I love it! My favourite part of the year is walking the runways around the world. This was my second trip to London Fashion week and it was amazing.
You lost 50 pounds to pursue your modelling career. What keeps you motivated to pursue your goals?
One of the reasons I stay fit is because of my health, I have three holes in my heart and a leaky valve, so it is very important for me to stay active and lead a very healthy lifestyle. The other reason is of course for my career. I love modelling, it’s my favourite thing in the world and to be a model you have to be fit! Loving my job is enough motivation for me to stay on track with my fitness.
What are your top self-care tips?
1. Always take time to recover! For me travelling can be tiring and sometimes stressful so I always make sure to recover for a few days when I finish the fashion circuit.
2. Doing some exercise is another way to take good care of your body and making sure to eat healthy food.
3. Lastly, look after you skin, moisturise and drink lots of water.
As a pioneer for models with Down syndrome, what have been the biggest challenges for you getting into modelling?
The biggest challenge has been that sometimes I am not seen as a professional. It is very dis-heartening because I have worked so hard to be where I am and I should be considered a professional. Sometimes people think that I will do things for the experience and they think they are doing me a favour, but I should be treated just like the other professional models. I think after walking over 60 catwalks at all the major destinations around the world I should be taken seriously.
“Sometimes people think that I will do things for the experience and they think they are doing me a favour, but I should be treated just like the other professional models.”
Who are your inspirations and why?
My mum is my biggest inspiration! She works so hard, she runs the business side of my modelling. She has been so supportive of my career and helped me every step, she is also the one who taught me to be kind, and to always believe in myself.
Who has been your favourite designer to model for?
Hendrik Vermeulen of course, he and his partner are beautiful humans, they want to save the world the way I do and Hendrik is so talented. I feel very blessed to have walked for him.
When you’re not modelling, what do you like to do for fun?
I love to dance! I have a dance school in Brisbane which I help to teach and perform at, Inside Outside Dance, I spend a lot of time there. I also like going to the gym, I spend lots of my spare time working out. Another one of my favourite things to do on a day off is to go bowling!! It’s so fun and most of all I like to hang out with my boyfriend – Robbie.
What are three things you can’t leave the house without?
My phone, my credit card and a smile.
Do you have anything in the pipeline that we can look forward to in the near future?
My documentary is coming out in January which is very exciting! I can’t wait to watch it, the film crew from Sweden, B-reel have followed me around to all my events for the past three years, all over the world, it will be amazing to see it completed. I also have a very busy year ahead next year, lots of new exciting things are happening and I’ll even be visiting some new places! I already have bookings for the USA, Bulgaria, Jakarta, Paris, London and many more.
What advice can you give to girls?
The best advice I could give would be to know your worth, know that you are beautiful, loved and appreciated. Always believe in yourself and never give up. Everyone is beautiful and deserves to be loved.