Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner… Madeline Stuart! Madeline is the talk of NYFW this year, and for good reason. Learn more about the talented Australian model, who happens to have Down syndrome.
Madeline Stuart is taking the fashion world by storm! The 21-year-old is the first model with Down syndrome to ever walk the runway at New York Fashion Week, and she’s damn good at it. This is Madeline’s sixth NYFW, and definitely not her last. Girl walked in five shows this year alone! Here are five fast facts you NEED to know about Madeline and her incredible journey:
1. She was discovered after her inspirational fitness journey went viral online. As with many people who have Down syndrome, Madeline struggled with her weight. She committed to losing weight for health reasons in 2015, and ended up shedding 50 pounds! Madeline’s mom, Roseanne Stuart, posted “before and after” photos online in the hopes of encouraging others that they could do the same. Her post went instantly viral all over the world! That same year, Madeline told her mother that she wanted to model after attending a fashion show in Australia, and Roseanne backed her fully.
2. She’s faced bullying online, but has the full support of the fashion industry. Roseanne told our sister site WWD that while Madeline’s been bullied, it’s never been by anyone in the industry: “Of course there’s bullying on the Internet,” she said. “That has happened a lot, but we don’t take notice of that. That is a reflection of the person who is doing the bullying — it’s not a reflection of what we’re doing. Some people can be unkind without even realizing it. They say things that they don’t realize are offensive. It’s just a matter of educating people. But I have never had anyone come and be rude to us because Madeline has had so much support in this industry… Our next generation is a lot warmer and more accepting. I have a lot of faith in the next generation that it’s going to be a much more beautiful world to live in.”
3. She advocates for diversity and equality in modeling. Fair wages are, understandably, important to Madeline. While she doesn’t make as much money as high-profile models like Karlie Kloss or the Hadid sisters, she’s doing well for herself! She is also often given the clothes she walks in. “I won’t let her walk unless she gets treated like every other model out there. Madeline doesn’t do it for free. It’s not creating diversity and helping to change the world if we don’t do it like everybody else does,” her mother told WWD.
4. She has her own fashion label. Not only is Madeline a rising star on the catwalk, she’s an up-and-coming fashion designer, too. Madeline’s label is called 21 Reasons Why, and at NYFW this year it featured watercolor jumpsuits, flirty crop tops, and high-waisted pants. We want one of everything! Madeline also walked the runway for 21 Reasons Why. This is the label’s third NYFW, too!
5. She’s walked in over 60 runway shows! Following NYFW, Madeline’s heading to London Fashion Week and Paris Fashion week to walk for Colleen Morris and Fashions Finest. And she’s walked in dozens of shows before that, including at Art Hearts Fashion Week, Style Fashion Week, Melange Fashion Week, Caspian Fashion, Runway Dubai, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week China, Birmingham Fashion Week, and the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival!