Madeline Stuart, the world-famous professional model with Down syndrome, is paying it forward.
After walking the runway at New York Fashion Week last month, Stuart, 19, returned home to Australia and attended a pair of events for I Can I Will Australia, a nonprofit aimed at ending bullying. I Can I Will has a mentoring program that pairs young adults with children with special needs, or youths who are “struggling socially,” and Stuart serves as an ambassador for the organization.
Stuart speaks at events and does photo shoots with the organization. On Friday, Feb. 26 Stuart attended the Be Fabulous Ladies Luncheon at the Moo Moo The Wine Bar + Grill in Brisbane, and modeled designs by Miss Henry Boutique at the gathering. I Can I Will partnered with the restaurant in a bid to raise $100,000 over the course of the year, which they hope will put 2,000-4,000 Gold Coast children into their program, according to its Facebook page.
Stuart later attended the Philanthropists Luncheon at Jellyfish restaurant for anotherI Can I Will fundraiser, and she was happy to pose for a number of photos with fellow guests at the event.
Rosanne Stuart told The Mighty her daughter is embracing her position as a role model, and happy to use her fame to raise awareness for ending bullying. “Maddy just likes to show people that if they believe in themselves they are capable of anything,” Stuart told The Mighty. “To never give up or doubt yourself.”
“Maddy has always wanted to help everyone and share everything she had with her friends,” Stuart added. “Now she just feels the love from everyone, and she feels so very special.”
In addition to her modeling career and philanthropy work, Stuart is also an ambassador for the InsideOutside Dance Ensemble, a dance group for people with disabilities.
Have you seen the first film with a national release to star a person with Down syndrome? Check out the film “Where Hope Grows” today!