Madeline became the world’s first professional model with Down’s syndrome to star in a major brand campaign. She has since walked in fashion shows across the globe. Madeline and her mum, Rosanne, told us about living the life of glamour.

What made you want to get into modelling?

I went to a fashion show in Brisbane in 2014 and as soon as the models started walking on the catwalk I fell in love; they looked so confident and happy and like they were having so much fun! I am always trying new things and when I see someone else doing something that looks like fun I usually want to go and do it! Modelling was the same. I am always thankful that I get to do something I love as a career; it’s been such an incredible journey.

Lots of people dream of becoming a model but few succeed…

My first runway show at New York Fashion Week was when my career really took off. People started taking me seriously and treating me like a professional model. It was a big turning point for not only me but for the industry. That is where things really changed and people became more open to models with a disability working in the fashion industry.

Fashion is a notoriously cruel industry. Have you ever worried about the way you’ll be received?

At first mum was a bit worried because she has always been very protective. However, she quickly realised that most people were very happy, encouraging and proud to work with me. Don’t get us wrong there have definitely been times where it has been hard and times when we don’t always get the job we wanted but we have come to understand that it is the same for everyone in the modelling industry. Everyone gets knocked down but getting back up only makes you stronger. We understand that we might not be what everyone is looking for. The modelling industry is diversifying and it’s been amazing to be a part of that process.

Have you had any feedback from other people with Down’s syndrome regarding your modelling?

Yes we have, we get hundreds of messages and we love it when people share their stories with us. We get a lot of messages saying we have inspired someone to go out and chase their dreams which is amazing! We also get a lot of messages from other models with Down’s syndrome or people with Down’s syndrome that want to be models, thanking us for opening doors and showing them that they can achieve anything.

It must be an intense experience to have all eyes on you… Can you explain how that feels?

The catwalk isn’t an intense time when you love it as much as I do. I feel at home in New York now, everyone is always so happy to have us at Fashion Week and we have been there so many times now that it feels so comfortable and relaxed. I am always happy, excited and ready to work on the catwalk.

What are your ambitions for 2019 – and beyond?

My biggest dream is to walk for Victoria’s Secret and work with other amazing designers like Louis Vuitton, Tommy Hilfi ger and Chanel.

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