As Twiggy was in the ‘70s and Kate Moss was in the ‘90s, Australian-born Madeline Stuart is forging a new generation of beauty, which encompasses the values of inclusion, diversity and most importantly, self-love.
As the first ever professional model with Down Syndrome, Madeline has walked runways in New York, Russia and Dubai and has appeared in such coveted publications as Cosmopolitan and Vogue.
We spoke to Madeline to get the scoop on self-love and sparking change.
What does ‘self-love’ mean to you?
I would define self-love by knowing your worth and standing up for what you deserve. I think it is very important that every single person knows how much the world values them. Everyone is talented, smart, beautiful and loved and having the confidence to believe in yourself is so important.
What inspired your professional journey in the fashion industry?
I went to a fashion show with my mum when I was 18 and I instantly fell in love with the models on the catwalk. They were so happy, confident and radiating beauty, I knew right then that I wanted to give modelling a go. My mum booked me in for a photoshoot soon after and we were both so blown away by the photos that we shared them on social media and that’s where my journey began. Overnight the photos went viral and I was walking at New York Fashion Week before I knew it. At first, we didn’t know that it would lead to the amazing career it has, but with hard work and determination I am walking more runways across the globe each year.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement is my first runway at New York for NYFW. The experience was incredible and something I will never forget, I was so proud to be representing diversity and inclusion on the runway and I believe it has sparked real change within the industry and I’m so proud to be a pioneer for those changes.
You’ve been an unstoppable force when it comes to inclusivity within the fashion industry. What do you think is next for this industry and how do you think it will develop?
I think the fashion industry has come such a long way, the runway is becoming far more diverse than before and it’s amazing to see these changes. However, there is always further changes that can be made to create a more inclusive and diverse industry. Some models with a disability do not always get paid as they deserve, some are often not paid at all, only given the opportunity to model for free for the experience. I do not think this is fair as they are working just as hard, so it would be amazing to see some changes in relation to this.
What is next for you in 2019?
2019 is looking to be a very big year for us, we have lots of bookings for the year already with some very incredible brands. We are doing more travel around the world and of course, more runway shows than ever. I have lots of goals to achieve this year and I am looking forward to making them happen.
What is your favourite inspirational mantra or quote?
Life is not about the destination, life is about the journey itself. Don’t always wait to be happy, be happy now.
Disclaimer: Madeline Stuart’s answers were written with the assistance of her mum, Rosanne Stuart. To read more about Madeline and her amazing achievements click here or follow her journey on her Instagram and Facebook accounts.