Maddy Stuart: Determined to change the face of beauty

Renate O'Connor, Kettle Mag, Madeline getting Downs to modelling, Facebook
Written by Renate O'Connor

In many ways Maddy is just your everyday 18 year old girl. She lives with her mum in Brisbane, Australia, enjoys swimming, dancing and has always dreamt of being a model. She also has Down’s syndrome. 

Last year she decided to try and make her dreams a reality and started pursuing a career in modelling. Since then, she has been making headline news for her determined efforts to change society’s conception of what is beautiful. 

Madeline Stuart

Renate O'Connor, Kettle Mag, Madeline getting Downs to modelling, Facebook

Madeline’s inspirational journey started with losing over 40kg – for the most heart-warming reasons. She had suffered with excessive weight gain from a young age, as is common for many people with Down’s Syndrome. But when she could no longer do cartwheels or handstands, she decided enough was enough.

After cutting out junk food, hiring a personal trainer and upping her swimming and dance lessons, she is now very close to her target weight.

Her mum Rosanne, explained to Daily Mail Australia why being a healthy weight is so important to her:

“She is not at all consumed with her looks. 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, then most of the models in the world would have Down’s syndrome.”

Since then she has received universal praise for challenging social attitudes towards disability. 

With over 100k likes in 10 days on her Facebook page, she is fast becoming a major role model within the Down’s community and her message is clear – ‘Modelling will help change societies view of people with Down’s syndrome, exposure will help to create acceptance in life.’

You’re AWESOME!!! Thanks for raising awareness & making the world so much better by being in it.. You Rock!

Posted by Lola Shahdadi on Monday, 18 May 2015


You rock girl!!! Don’t even let anyone tell you different. You are so beautiful and will go far!!! A lot of change will come from you being so outgoing an brave, keep up the amazing work. Much love from CA!

Posted by Star Harris on Monday, 18 May 2015


Jamie Brewer

Maddy isn’t the only Down’s syndrome model we’ve seen this year.

Renate O'Connor, Kettle Mag, Jamie Brewer, Getty

Jamie Brewer, star of the hit TV show American Horror Story, made history as the first model with Down’s to walk the catwalk during New York Fashion Week. The 30 year old featured in Carrie Hammer’s, ‘Role Models not Runway Models’ campaign back in February, wearing a black A-line dress, designed to best suit her frame. 

The idea behind the campaign, which was first started in 2014, was to feature inspiring women, who could better reflect more than one body type. Last year’s show saw Dr Danielle Sheypuk become the first woman to ‘walk’ the runway in a wheelchair, whilst this year, alongside Jamie, quadruple amputee Karen Crespo modelled Hammer’s Spring/Sumer ’15 designs.



jamie brewer of #americanhorrorstory slaying us all in pre show #NYFW #carriehammer

A video posted by Alanna Raben (@alannaraben) on


What do you think? Is society’s perception of beauty too narrow? 

Let me know in the comments below.