Kids & Family

Little Boy with Down Syndrome Lands Modeling Gig

A shift toward more inclusivity in advertising is making stories like his a little more common.


True beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, though that's not always obvious in the fashion world where models tend to be tall and thin, with perfect bodies and symmetrical features.

Perhaps, though, there is change on the horizon. Large companies and brands that are household names are starting to show more diversity in their ads by including people of color and different body sizes and types.

(Source: @TiffWinbush )

It seems the last group of "outsiders" finding a place in mainstream advertising and media is those with disabilities. We recently shared a story about a little girl in a wheelchair who was in awe of a beauty ad that featured a model who had a similar disability.

And, there's 4-year-old Riley Baxter from Kent, England, who has been gaining major visibility as a child model with Down Syndrome. "Smiley Riley" has landed a contract with international child and baby retailer, Mothercare, for the Jools Oliver Little Bird line.

(Source: @smiley_riley2014 )

Riley's parents (pictured below) knew that life wasn't going to be easy for their son because of his disability. He is mostly non-verbal and has trouble walking, but that hasn't seemed to stop him from achieving his goals.

(Source: @smiley_riley2014 )

"With his walking, he has to work twice as hard as anyone else to do what they are doing. When he walks a mile it's like walking two for anyone else. But his determination to keep going is the one thing we constantly see," his dad told Caters News .

Riley has been working with Zebedee Management, an organization that aims to help people with disabilities find jobs in fashion, media and the arts.

According to Zebedee's website, "Disability has often been left out of the diversity debate, and we often receive casting calls looking for 'diversity,' but with no mention of disability. Disability seems to be the last taboo - however we want to change this. We want it to be the norm that advertising using people with disabilities becomes commonplace."

Source: @smiley_riley2014

If Riley is an example of what's to come in a new, more inclusive advertising world, then we say bring on the cuteness!

If you're interested in modeling opportunities with Zebedee Management you can visit their website for further information .

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