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Latina Model With Down Syndrome Sofía Jirau Walks at New York Fashion Week

Last week, Puerto Rican model with Down syndrome, Sofía Jirau, walked at New York Fashion Week (NYFW) for the first time. The 22-year-old model participated in dress designer Marisa Santiago’s show on February 10.

The next day, Jirau posted a picture of herself on the runway and said the experience was a dream come true. You can read her words (translated into English) below.

“Yesterday, I fulfilled a dream,” she wrote on Instagram. “I was born for this and I want to show the world that I have everything a model needs to shine.”

Though Jirau isn’t the first model with Down syndrome to walk during NYFW (Australian model Madeline Stuart did back in 2016), her inclusion on the runway is an important moment for folks in the Down syndrome and Latinx communities, many of whom haven’t historically been represented in fashion.

In addition to her role as a model, Jirau is a businesswoman. Her clothing line, called Alavett, includes shirts, wallets, mugs and phone cases. On Alavett’s website, Jirau proudly proclaims the line is her “cry of joy to the world.”

Media representation is important, and thankfully in recent years, we have seen more individuals with Down syndrome appear in fashion print advertisements and runway shows — as well as start their own clothing lines.

In an interview with People, Jirau shared her desire to become a globally-recognized model.

“Inside and out, there are no limits. There aren’t,” she said. “Everyone can accomplish their dreams.”

For more on inclusive fashion, check out our list of 43 models with Down syndrome who are taking the fashion world by storm.

via Sofía Jirau Instagram