From the runways in New York, London and Milan to the pages of Vogue, Cosmopolitan & Elle, Madeline Stuart, at the age of 20, has accomplished more in two decades than most do in an entire lifetime. Down syndrome is a condition she lives with, not a disease she suffers from. Launching her own fashion label, 21 Reasons Why, she thrives despite her disability and inspires others to do the same.
Jack and Allié McGuire, founders of If The Tie Fits, had the honor of interviewing Madeline while she was traveling in Europe, just after she met with the President of Albania at the conclusion of one of her fashion shows.
Allié: "Madeline, how are you using fashion to make your own statement?"
Madeline: "My statement is we are all equal and beautiful in our own way so fashion is the best way to address that. For a long time people thought that if you had down syndrome you were not attractive, I hope I have changed peoples opinions."
Jack: "In your career, what has been the hardest challenge? And the greatest success?"
Madeline: "The hardest challenge is to get people to take me seriously and to realise I am a working model and as such I deserve to be paid equally. My biggest success is my modeling, it has created so much joy for me and so much awareness for the disability industry."
Allié: "What inspires you to do and be more?"
Madeline: "Every person out there that feel part of a minority, I want to help everyone feel worthwhile and I see so many people trying even though they are not always given a fair chance. We must all have the courage to speak up and be heard. To be accepted and to be loved."
Jack: "As a young, talented and beautiful woman with Down syndrome, what is it that you want to make everyone aware of?"
Madeline: "I have down syndrome, it is a genetic condition, it is not a sickness and it does not make me useless or irrelevant. I love just like you and I want to be loved and accepted just like you so please don’t’ treat me or any other person differently as we all just want to be treated the same as you."