Madeline Stuart (also known as ‘Maddy’ for short) is an 18 year old redhead and aspiring model from Brisbane, Australia with Down syndrome. As with many people with Down syndrome, Maddy struggled with her weight. Last year, she decided to get healthy and chase after her dream to model professionally.
Maddy wanted to change the way people discriminate against those with disabilities and gained enormous attention through social media. Headlines buzzed throughout the world: People Magazine, “Madeline Stuart, Model with Down Syndrome, Lands Two New Contracts”; Cosmopolitan, “18-Year-Old Model With Down Syndrome Will Walk at New York Fashion Week, Change the World”.. and hundreds of others.
Madeline modeling the Rock it like a Redhead t-shirt!
We had the chance to speak with the inspiring Maddy about her dreams, pursuits and why she loves being a redhead:
H2BAR: You’re destroying stereotypes & we LOVE it. What’s your life motto?
MS: Be happy and share the love.
H2BAR: You’ve had a busy 2015! Tell us about your most memorable moment.
MS: I think the most memorable moment was New York Fashion Week. It was so amazing and completely surprising. We have never experienced so much press attention before so we were very happy to be able to promote inclusion and diversity to such a huge audience.
H2BAR: What was your biggest challenge this year?
MS: I think all the travel and missing my friends. We, my mum and I, have been away four out of the last six months which is quite exhausting.
H2BAR: Any big plans for 2016?
MS: Yes! It will be huge. I will be walking again at NYFW and also two other fashion weeks in different parts of the world. We are also travelling to South Africa, Uganda, Alaska, Canada, London and Hawaii. Lots of amazing things happening next year.
H2BAR: What’s going through your head when walking the runway?
MS: I am just so excited and happy to hear people applauding and encouraging me.
H2BAR: We love your red hair! It’s gorgeous. What’s one word you would use to describe your locks?
H2BAR: If you can give one piece of advice for our redhead readers who are struggling with their confidence and fitting in, what would it be and why?
MS: Believe in yourself. If you can’t do it how can you expect anyone else to? Everyone needs to know that they’re amazing and just as important as anyone else. We are all equal and all beautiful in our own ways.
H2BAR: Do you have a funny redhead story you’d like to share?!
MS: My mum was so worried that I would have red hair when I was born. She wanted me to be blonde like her, but now she wants to have red hair like me.
H2BAR: Who’s your favorite redhead celebrity?
MS: Prince Harry
H2BAR: Why do you love being a redhead, Maddy?
MS: Because it makes me even more unique.
H2BAR: Any last thoughts for the How to be a Redhead audience?
MS: I want people to know that Down syndrome is a blessing, something to be celebrated and to shoot for your dreams. And, I am the ambassador for Inside Outside Theatre Company. They are a new dance ensemble empowering young people with disability who have the talent and drive to move towards working professionally in the industry.
Madeline modeling the How to be a Redhead t-shirt!