Katie Meade is rocking the beauty world as a pioneer: She is the first model with Down syndrome chosen to be a brand ambassador.
Meade, 32, is the new face of Beauty & Pinups, for their product Fearless Hair Rescue Treatment.Kenny Kahn, CEO of Beauty & Pinups, told TODAY the decision to hire Meade was an easy one. The company is partnered with Best Buddies International, an organization that helps people with Down syndrome and other disabilities meet friends and find employment opportunities.
Kahn's brand donates portions of proceeds to Best Buddies, and attends trade shows and other events with the group. That is how he met Meade, who is an ambassador for Best Buddies.
When they decided to name the new product "Fearless," Katie's name immediately came up.
"Katie is an extraordinary woman. We've gotten to know Katie over the past six months. We've spent a lot of time together. When we came up for the concept of 'Fearless,' those of us on the team looked at each other. She's the most fearless person we know, and she tackles life's challenges in unbelievable ways that we all should. So we took the style team to Des Moines and in December did a photo shoot. It was the most fun day I can remember having."
Katie Meade becomes the first model with down syndrome to land a beauty campaign: https://t.co/S47A3oBA1Z pic.twitter.com/ur6YNG7FUhKatie rocks a black T-shirt that says "Fearless" on the product packaging. She holds up one arm, flexing her bicep.
— Shape Magazine (@Shape_Magazine) April 12, 2016
"..I can tell everybody, this is me, and I'm thrilled to be on this awesome package. I love to shine. And that's what I'm doing."Kahn remarks that Katie is as special as she looks in the photos.
"She represents not just hope; she represents reality."
Shattering boundaries : meet Katie Meade #actforchange https://t.co/uuWoEvGfZG— ACT FOR CHANGE (@actforchangehq) April 11, 2016Katie said that Keane and the Fearless brand are "like family."
"They make me feel welcome and loved. They have given me opportunities to show the world that people with disabilities like beauty and fashion, and like to look good like everyone else."Meade grew up in Des Moines, and lives there with her parents. Her mother told local WhoTV that Katie has always had a curious and intrepid nature.
"I think she's always had the outgoing personality, and has always been friendly...and confident in herself. Which is maybe the reason they selected her to be the face of the product, 'Fearless.'"Meade said that she was surprised by the offer, but also felt blessed.
"I feel like, looking at myself, it feels like I'm doing a really good thing for other people with disabilities."Katie is no stranger to a bit of fame, having rubbed elbows with the likes of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and actor Rob Lowe. She told Fox News that meeting Brady was "awesome" and expects the Patriots quarterback will "probably" want her autograph one day.
This Saturday, Meade will be crushing her new look at the Best Buddies Ball in Des Moines. Stylist Alan Russell will be helping her prep for the big night.
"I think it's a big step forward to actually bring somebody into the beauty industry that's not just a Victoria's Secret model. Because I think it just helps to show that everybody can be beautiful."Meade's goal is to empower women by showing that true beauty doesn't discriminate.
"I love to show people and tell people that beauty belongs to everyone."
[Photo of Katie with Tom Brady by Elise Amendola/AP]