woman with down syndrome

Madeline Stuart: Changing the Perception of Beauty

Maddy is 18 years old, has Down syndrome and lives in Brisbane Australia. Her relationship with her mother, Rosanne Stuart, “is almost telekinetic” in her mom’s own words. They have the most amazing bond; they adore each other and everyone can see it from a mile away.

As any good mother would have done, Rosanne didn’t give up on her daughter’s dreams, specifically, to become a model, even though, like most people with Down syndrome, she’s struggled with her weight.


A year ago, fully committed to her dream, Maddy tried hard to get better at her dancing, gymnastics and cheer leading. She wanted to do cartwheels and handstands, but because of her weight, she couldn’t. The challenge became the inspiration she needed in order to overcome the barriers, and gain the strength she needed in order to succeed.

Once more than 40 pounds of overweight, Maddy started swimming four to five days a week, and cut out all junk food except for special occasions, which includes movie time with chips, one of her favorite treats. Her desire to change her life to follow her dream of becoming a model not only helped her to lose 44 pounds, but also filled up her busy schedule with daily activities like playing Cricket, cheer leading, doing Hip Hop dance, and even working with a personal trainer who guides her in order to maintain a healthy weight.

According to her mom, Maddy is very social, and like many other people of her age, Madeline wanted to be a model. “Looking good” has never being the main goal, but the feeling of health and being proud of all the things she has achieved over the last six months is reward enough.


The Beginning of the Change for Maddy

Her eating habits were not ideal, so the first step was to break that cycle. It took her about six to eight weeks to replace unhealthy habits for new and healthy ones. Keeping herself busy has been the best strategy for her in order to avoid temptations.

She Has Been Always Confident

Maddy and her mother want to be clear on something, Maddy wasn’t unhappy or less confident before than she is now. Her mom says: “Maddy is so confident, she has no hang ups, she would parade around the house, showing me how gorgeous she is with her hand up behind her head, swaying her hips as if to say ‘look at me’. She is not insecure in the least but I have made a point of never letting anyone be critical of her, and telling her every day how amazing, funny, smart, beautiful, wonderful she is. Actually, I make sure to tell her twice a day about 6 words of praise.”

Her Dream of Modeling

When she is up on the stage doing a play or competing in gymnastics or cheer, Maddy loves the attention she gets. She loves the camera, and will ask her mom to take photos every time she wears something different or special, whether she is going out, or simply staying home and she likes what she’s wearing.

The opportunity that Modeling Would Bring to Maddy

According to her mom, people with Down syndrome can and should have the right to be and feel as sexy and beautiful as everyone else, and like everyone else, they should be celebrated. Just so you know, Maddy’s boyfriend sure thinks she is sexy and so do we!

Maddy is a beautiful young girl pursuing a dream, while inspiring others to do the same!