By Anna Behrmann
WITH her clear blue eyes and strawberry blonde hair, Madeline Stuart is strikingly beautiful but she’s fought incredibly hard to earn a place on the catwalk.
The 21-year-old model with Down’s syndrome has just come off the plane after walking seven shows in New York Fashion Week – and will now take to the catwalk for London Fashion Week.
And now, in an exclusive interview with Fabulous online, her mum Rosanne, 46, has revealed it is the 21-year-old’s ultimate dream to be a Victoria’s Secret model.
“All the supermodels eventually go on to be Victoria’s Secret models,” Rosanne said, of her daughter who is from Brisbane, Australia.
Maddy was the first woman with Down syndrome to walk in London Fashion Week last year.
“In America, so many people are pushing for diversity, and in London it is becoming better and better.
“My daughter has opened the door. When people with disabilities see Maddy doing these things, it opens their minds to do things themselves.
“There’s been children with Down syndrome in adverts for a long time, because they look cute when they’re younger, but unfortunately they are not being cast when they get older. But now it’s happening more and more.”
Rosanne says all the designers who work with Maddy treat her “beautifully” and understand she is a professional.
“They believe in her and they believe in her cause,” she explained.
“Maddy has a beautiful way with people – she doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.”
She knew she wanted to be a model when she visited her first fashion show three years ago.
She turned to her mum sitting next to her in the audience, and said, ‘Mum, me, model,” her mum said.
“I love modelling because when I’m on the runway, everyone is looking at me and smiling and I feel beautiful,” said Maddy, who met her boyfriend, Robbie, 22, who has an intellectual disability, at the Special Olympics.
She explained how, in the future, she wants to model for the big names including Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Dior.
Her favourite parts of getting ready for a show are the hair and make-up.
When Maddy told her mum that she wanted to be a model, Rosanne knew that she would do everything that she could to help her child achieve her dream.
At the time she was overweight, and she struggled to keep up with her friends at school.
With the dream in front of her of being a model, she lost more than three stone by cutting out junk food and working out with a personal trainer six days a week.
Maddy also competes in the Special Olympics, for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, playing basketball and cricket.
As soon as Maddie hears her mum say her boyfriend’s name to me on the phone, she repeats it several times – she can’t wait to see him when she’s back home.
Rosanne will support her daughter to keep modelling, as long as she keeps having fun. “Maddy loves it, she just wants to be on that catwalk every day,” she said.
“I’m hoping that she will be signed with a major agency and get big campaigns.”
Follow her on Instagram.