Madeline Stuart, a teen with Down syndrome, is determined to become a model.
The 18-year-old enjoys dancing, cheerleading, gymnastics, among other things, and recently decided she wanted to make a career out of modeling to raise awareness to her genetic disorder.
"I think it is time people realized that people with Down syndrome can be sexy and beautiful and should be celebrated," Madeline's mom Roseanne said in a statement, according to Fox8. "She is not insecure in the least bit, but I have made a point of never letting anyone be critical of her and telling her every day how amazing, funny, smart, beautiful, wonderful she is."
Maddy's desire to model came after she decided she wanted to live a healthier lifestyle. She has always been a very active girl, but had put on some extra weight and was having trouble keeping up with her friends.
"She wanted to do cartwheels and handstands but because she was too heavy she couldn't," Roseanne said. "So Maddy wanted to get healthy and get more physical."
"Now if she wants something that is unhealthy she asks me," Stuart added, "and I ask her if it is a healthy choice, she will put it down every time."
Roseanne said she hopes Madeline's can inspire people to realize that people with down syndrome can live active, healthy lifestyles, and can have goals and ambitions like everyone else.
"Madeline's relationship with me is almost telekinetic. We have the most amazing bond, we just adore each other. She is my only child and it has been just her and I since she was born," she said in an article featured on Parker Myles. "I'm very social- she's my mini me! Maddy is so confident, she has no hang ups. She is more than happy to parade around the house showing me how gorgeous she is with her hand up behind her head swaying her hips, as if to say, 'Look at me!'"
"She does not care how she looks- she is not at all consumed with her looks," Roseanne added. "But she DOES care that she can run around all the time now feeling great. If the average person could only see the beauty Maddy has inside, how loving and caring she is! If that is what people measured beauty on, than most of the models in the world would have Down syndrome. It truly is a beautiful thing."
[Photo via Instagram/Maddyismodeling]