Teen model with Down syndrome off to New York catwalks
LOOK out world, Madeline Stuart is coming.
The Mount Crosby teen, who was born with Down syndrome, will be living every model's dream when she struts the catwalk at New York Fashion Week in September.
Since launching her Facebook page in May, Madeline has gone viral on social media and currently boasts more than 445,000 fans on Facebook and 68,000 Instagram followers.
Since then she has become the face of three major campaigns, modelled at charity events in Australia and the US, has attended red carpet functions and has even had a handbag designed in her honour, with 5% of sales going to the National Down Syndrome Society.
Her mother and manager Rosanne Stuart said she was always confident Maddy would make it to the big apple one day.
"I'm not surprised at all. I knew she would walk New York Fashion Week," Ms Stuart said.
"She's super excited and I'm so proud of her.
"She's really come out of her skin and is so confident now.
"In the last two weeks (in America) it's like she has matured five years.
"She is being so professional and it's just amazing to see."
Maddy's mum said photographers loved working with 18-year-old, who was anything but a diva in front of the cameras.
"I think they're used to models complaining so they love her," she said. "She'll work for hours and high-five everyone and help them pack up at the end."
Ms Stuart said Maddy's success had inspired people world-wide and helped to achieve their goal of promoting inclusion for those with disabilities.
"I think that's why she's done so well," she said.
"Because this isn't about modelling for us. It's about the fight for inclusion and equality."
Maddy will walk the catwalk for Italian company FTL Moda on September 13 and will be the second person with Down syndrome to ever do so, following in the footsteps of American Horror Story actress Jamie Brewer, who modelled in New York Fashion Week in February.
"I can't imagine her stopping anytime soon," Ms Stuart said.
"She absolutely loves modelling and New York is just the first thing.
"She's got plenty more in the works."
Visit Madeline's Facebook page to find out more about Australia's rising modelling star.