Extraordinary People

Girl, 18, with Down’s syndrome smashes model stereotypes to land Vogue campaign

Ellie Goldstein wants to show the world that having a disability does not mean you can't follow your dreams.

It’s not often a model comes along to truly challenge beauty paradigms that we have been fed ever since reading fairytales.

So, please put your hands together for Ellie Goldstein, who is turning the modelling industry on its head to rewrite the narrative as we know it.

This 18-year-old, who has already landed her first Gucci campaign, hopes that having Down’s syndrome will shine a light on better disability representation in the media.

Chatting to Vogue, Ellie explained that she can be a role model in showing the world that anyone with a disability can be a model or actor.

Ellie said: “I haven’t had any bad experiences having Down’s syndrome. I think it’s because of my personality.

“The only challenge I have faced was maybe people signing to me and talking to my mum instead of me, until realising that I can communicate and that I am just like them, maybe just slower at learning some things.”

The Essex native, who grew up in Ilford, said that she overcame her struggles by simply being herself.

She continued: “Once people realise that I can talk and have a great character, they are different towards me and they smile.

“There needs to be more positivity out there and people should give us a chance and not be so ignorant.”

Now Ellie is opening the world’s eyes by starring in a Gucci Beauty feature in partnership with Vogue Italia, after she was discovered by a scout on Instagram.

The editorial, shot by London-based photographer David PD Hyde, centres around the idea of authenticity by focusing on alternative appearances.

Speaking about the campaign, Ellie – who cites Marilyn Monroe as her beauty icon – said it is amazing to be part of something that challenges mainstream media imagery.

She said: “I feel so proud of myself, especially to have been chosen for this.

“When I look at the images, I feel happy with myself, and all the likes and comments on social media across the world have been overwhelming.

“I enjoy being a role model. It shows that if you follow your hopes and dreams, you can achieve anything.”

Ellie catapulted into the modelling world at just 15, after signing to Zebedee Management who pride themselves on representing models with disabilities.

And with dreams of becoming a household name, Ellie’s Vogue cover is just the tip of the iceberg as she hopes to work for other big brands to show the world who she is.

Though it’s just not the catwalk she has her eye on, the ambitious teen also loves drama and dance, and dreams of landing the perfect TV or movie role one day too.

When quizzed about what advice she might give to those who don’t feel confident in themselves, Ellie said: “Be yourself and don’t worry about what other people think of you.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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