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Teen Model With Down Syndrome Wows Crowd With Fierce Runway Walk

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Gigi Cunningham is an aspiring model and actress with Down syndrome, and since we last checked in with her, she’s made huge strides towards achieving her dream of working in the entertainment industry. Her latest accomplishment? Wowing the crowd at the biggest Down syndrome fundraiser in the country.

On Oct. 24 Gigi participated in the Global Down Syndrome Foundation‘s “Be Beautiful Be Yourself” fashion show at the Colorado Convention Center. The appearance was her biggest modeling gig to date.

Global Down Syndrome Foundation

“I was so excited and to see the people’s faces smiling and cheering me on,” Gigi told The Mighty. “I wasn’t nervous at all, I was ready. I couldn’t wait to get out there. Walking in the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion show was the best time of my life. I loved the makeup, hair, dress and meeting new friends just like me. They were so beautiful.”

Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Gigi’s mother Erica Butler told The Mighty in an email she was in tears when she watched her daughter on the stage. “To see her walk with such confidence and sassiness made my heart melt,” Butler told The Mighty. “To hear the crowd cheering for her was surreal.”

Gigi also rubbed elbows with a number of celebrities at the event, including actor Jamie Foxx and his sister Deonda, who also has Down syndrome. Gigi told The Mighty that Foxx was her favorite celebrity at the event.

Image courtesy of Erica Butler

“Gigi really rocked the runway with model Amanda Booth during the show and we are proud of all the models who participated,” David Charmatz, Senior Vice President, Global Down Syndrome Foundation, said in a statement to The Mighty.

The 7th annual “Be Beautiful Be Yourself” fundraiser benefited the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and the Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Celebs who walked the runway included actress Jamie Brewer, Minka Kelly, Beau Bridges, John C. McGinley, Beverly Johnson and Terence Howard. GDSF told The Mighty the show raised close to $2 million.

Image courtesy of Erica Butler

Originally published: October 27, 2015
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