Published on Friday, 22 May 2015 00:00
Written by Cheryl Teo Kai Lin
Madeline Stuart's story is one that speaks of willpower, determination and conquering all odds. The 18-year-old from Brisbane, Australia has Down Syndrome, but instead of seeing it as a disability, she is using it as an advantage to redefine beauty and inspire everyone all around the world by pursuing her dreams of becoming a model.
According to Madeline's facebook page
, she decided to become an on-camera personality after deciding that she needs to change her unhealthy lifestyle to focus on physical health and fitness. Through sheer determination, hardwork and the support of her mother Roseanne, Madeline lost 20kg through eating balanced meals and taking up cricket, gymnastics, basketball, swimming, dancing and cheerleading. And as if all that isn't enough to keep this teenager busy as a bee, she also actively takes part in the special olympics!
“I think it is time people realized that people with Down syndrome can be sexy and beautiful and should be celebrated,” Roseanne said.
Madeline's mum continued on to say that the culture now is much more accepting of people with disabilities compared to when her daughter was first born. “Things were a lot different 18 years ago. 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. Even her doctors said Madeline would never achieve anything. But things are changing every day and people are more accepting of what they don’t understand yet.”
It's a good thing Madeline and her mum never allowed all the negative talk about Down Syndrome affect them, because if it did, the world would not have had the honor of getting to know this little ray of sunshine from the land down under.
Roseanne also explained that her daughter has been very confident despite her disability and she constantly reminds her that she's perfect just the way she is. “I have made a point of never letting anyone be critical of her. [I tell Maddy] every day how amazing, funny, smart, beautiful, [and] wonderful she is. It’s that confidence — and beauty, both inside and out — that Rosanne wants others to see. People need to see how she shines, how her personality just bursts out.”
“People with Down syndrome can do anything. They just do it at their own pace. Give them a chance and you will be rewarded beyond your greatest expectations,” Roseanne said.
Indeed, Madeline is changing the world at her own pace. This beautiful teenager is ready to show the world what beauty looks like on the inside and out. Madeline hopes that her modeling career will help change the way society view people with Down Syndrome. She says, wise beyond her years, that “exposure will help to create acceptance in life”.
The spirit and fire in Madeline is so intense that writing this gives me goosebumps. Madeline's dream is one for the greater good, and she is living proof that anyone is capable of doing anything they put their minds to. For Madeline, she is changing society's view of beauty one photograph at a time, with a heart made of solid gold and the face of an angel's.
"Only when she gets lots of attention through social media will the modelling world look at her, this is unfortunate but true and she really wants to change the way people discriminate against disability," says Rosanne.
So help make the world a better place and start sharing this article with your family and friends!