Madeline Stuart, the Australian model with Down syndrome who stunned the modeling world last year after losing 44 pounds in a period of 18 months, is once again in the news for all the right reasons.
As if her unprecedented struggle from being an outcast in her own community to becoming the face of some of the largest fashion brands in the world is not a fairy tale in itself, Stuart has now gone on to star in a fairy tale wedding shoot, hoping to continue her work in challenging society’s perceptions of people living with a disability, according to Mail Online.
The breathtaking photos, shot at the historic Rixey Manor in Virginia, show Madeline as a young bride, dressed in a series of elegant bridal gowns. Organized by the owner of Rixey Manor in association with Ava Laurenne Bridal, the photo shoot aims to break the stereotype prevalent in the fashion industry which sees bridal wear companies cast only tall, thin models in their promotion or ad campaigns.
Through the fairy tale photo shoot, both Madeline Stuart and the company appear to insist that one does not have to be conventional to be a gorgeous bride.
Speaking to Huffington Post(via Hollywood Life), the owner of Rixey Manor said that women everywhere will be able to relate to Stuart because of how she has been able to thwart the obstacles in her way to be where she is today.
“A lot of newly engaged women cannot see themselves as a bride because all the images magazines use are of these tall, thin models. I think that being a bride is a life experience that every woman should be able to see herself doing — and definitely not stressing about the fact that they won’t look ‘perfect’ on their wedding day.”
In other photos, all of them stunning, Madeline can be seen dancing, twirling, and staring lovingly at a male model, while her elaborate gowns sweeps the floor and her veil blows in the breeze.
The Internet has embraced Madeline’s attempts to break free from conventional fashion stereotypes with open arms, with the photos of the bridal shoot going viral soon after they were released online. With more and more people now familiar with Stuart’s dedication to overcoming extraordinary struggles, which involved shedding an identity which rat-holed her as only a young girl with Down syndrome, Madeline is quickly going on to become a star in her own right.
Manda Barnes, one of the millions of people inspired by Madeline Stuart’s life, could not hide her joy at the career strides being made by the 19-year-old Australian model.
“Girl, you are SUCH an inspiration! You are beating all the silly previously-set stereotypes by the industry and doing your own thing. I love watching your career and, as an ex-model, I can tell you that I am SO PROUD to see you doing what you’re doing! You are beautiful and amazing and will continue to go far in life, congratulations on all your success. You are beautiful INSIDE AND OUT.”
For many, Madeline’s breathtaking success is a sign that not only are people living with disabilities confronting stereotypes like never before, but it also bodes well for the fashion industry, which has for too long been obsessed with zero figures and atypical bodies.
Meg O’Connell, president of Global Disability Inclusion, an organization set up to help companies and brands realize the competitive advantages of disability inclusion, said that Madeline has opened up a plethora for others living with a disability.
“People want to see people like themselves in fashion and advertising and marketing campaigns. People with disabilities buy clothes and cars and houses. They want to be represented, like everyone else; disability has been the forgotten diversity segment.”
The Telegraph, in a piece praising Madeline for her monumental efforts, charted out the range of emotional reactions her bridal shoot has received on the Internet, with all her photos going viral almost immediately after surfacing online.
“In an unapologetically aesthetics-driven industry in which ‘imperfection’ is interpreted as a gap between one’s front teeth, or being ‘only’ 5ft 7ins, Stuart is profoundly challenging conventional perceptions of beauty.”
Indeed. You can check all of Madeline Stuart’s amazing bridal shoot photos here.
[Image via Madeline Stuart/Instagram]