Our exclusive interview with a unique and gorgeous 21-year-old model Madeline Stuart from Brisbane, Australia. Madeline notably, has been dubbed by the press as not only a supermodel, but “the world’s most famous model with Down syndrome”. This incredibly courageous, beautiful, and talented young woman has had astonishing success in the short time she has been modelling, and has captured media attention both in Australia and internationally. As with many people with Down syndrome, Madeline struggled with her weight for a long time, and in early 2015 she decided to get healthy and chase after her dreams which included dance. She lost over 20kg, and is now changing society’s perception of people with disabilities, one photo shoot at a time.
Madeline’s career started when Maddy attended a Fashion Parade late 2015 with her mum and said to her mum “mum me model”. Rosanne knew it would take a lot of work and dedication, and told Madeline if she wanted to commit to the journey, she would fully support her.
Madeline has modeled in New York Fashion Week, Art Hearts Fashion Week, Style Fashion Week, Melange Fashion Week, Caspian Fashion, Runway Dubai, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week China, Birmingham Fashion Week, Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival, and dozens of others globally.
Madeline has been featured in leading publications; Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Women’s Weekly, New York Times, Elle, Marie Claire, People, paper and Cleo, to name a few. In 2017 she has already booked work in Sweden, Russia, Dubai, Uganda, Lebanon, Beijing, Australia, India, London, and America. She has also been nominated for the Pride of Australia and Young Australian of the Year Award for 2015 & 2016, and named Model of the year for 2016 by World Fashion Media. Additionally she was awarded the prestigious 2015 Model of the Year Award at international fashion show Melange in San Francisco, whose partners include Jean Paul Gaultier, Sephora, and Nicole Miller.
Hi Madeline, please you tell us a little about you?
I am 21 years old; I was born in Brisbane Australia where I have lived all of my life. I have a boyfriend Robbie who I have dated for the past 4 years and my best friends are Jamie Lea, Kala and my mum. I have a Maltese terrier called Jessica who I miss very much when I travel and my favourite thing to do when I am not on the catwalk, dancing or at the gym is Ten Pin Bowling. My favourite place is New York as I get to model the most there and one day I hope to be a Victoria Secret Model and meet Karli Kloss and Lady Gaga.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Happy, Caring, Inspirational.
Name one your strengths?
Making people feel more positive about the world.
Do you have a role model?
Yes, Karlie Kloss
Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a waitress at McDonalds.
How and when did you start into modeling?
I went to a fashion parade when I was 18 and fell in love with it straight away, a few months later I did a photo shoot and when they were posted on social media they went viral and I have been modelling nearly every week since all over the world.
What advice would you give to women trying to become models?
Work hard, be fit as you will need to be fit to be able to work very long hours, understand you will get rejected but everyone does, it is not necessarily because of who you are but people may be looking for a different look. Never stop believing in yourself and loving yourself.
Tell us about your experience during the world-renowned New York Fashion Week, the Art Hearts Fashion Week, Style Fashion Week, and Melange Fashion Week?
It is exciting, busy, crowded, noisy and so much fun, there is nothing really like it. Being in NY is most girls dream and I have been so lucky to be a part of it for the last 5 seasons. My first fashion week was really just a blur, there was so much publicity and so many interviews plus I did not know what to expect so everything just blurred in together. It really is my happy place and I can’t wait to be back there in September.
Now big congrats on the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award for your philanthropy work. Tell us about it?
Being awarded the Quincy Jones advocacy award was amazing, I am so proud to have my work acknowledged for such a prestigious award.
Meeting Quincy Jones was such a pleasure, he is so kind and simply amazing, some of the stories he told me about his work with Michael Jackson and other amazing artists was fascinating and I felt so privileged to be there with him and Eva Longoria who also received the same award on the night for her work with her foundation Eva’s Angels. I also got to go to Jamie Fox’s private concert the night before and danced with him and he taught me some dance moves which was great. It really is a night I will never forget.
What did you learn from your biggest failure?
I don’t’ really think we have failures, we just have experiences we learn from and do not go exactly as planned, I don’t live my life thinking I have failed at anything, I try and it is either very successful or it leads me to other opportunities. Thinking you failed is a very negative thought and I never feel negative about anything in my life. I am happy and I love my life, my friends and especially my experiences.
Best advice you have followed?
To believe in myself, to love myself and to be kind to others. The world is really about how we live and it will give to you what you give to it.
What is your own definition of happiness?
Being alive and being able to experience life, we are blessed every day to learn new things and experience people and our surroundings. Feeling the love from our friends and family and having their support, being able to love and laugh is the greatest happiness anyone can have.
Do you support any charities?
I try to support all charities and hope to work with many more in the future, I have in the past worked with the Upside of Downs, the Down Syndrome association, the Cerebral Palsy Association, the Special Olympics, Make a wish foundation, Embrace Kulture, The Arc, Kulture City, The Melbourne Mission, E. Motions 21, FUB, Veterinarians International, The Museum of Disability History, Florida Special School, The Jonathon Centre, Global Down Syndrome, Veteran Advocacy Services, Culture Device and InsideOutside Dance.
What’s the advice you live by?
To be kind, to be brave, to believe in yourself and others. By most of all to never give up and to work hard to achieve your dreams and to help the world be more inclusive.
Who is your favorite Actor/Actress? And why?
I really love Hugh Jackman, he is Australian and he has a nephew with Down syndrome, I love his movies and I believe he is a wonderful man.
What’s your favorite quote?
Aim for the moon and you will land on the stars.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Walt Disney, I think he sounds amazing and he has brought so much joy to people’s lives.
Your idea of a perfect Sunday is…?
Going out with my friends bowling and having lunch and laughing together.
Something people don’t know about you?
I don’t cope well being a part of a big crowds and it takes all my energy to stay focussed as it is very overloading and can be very confusing with everyone doing lots of different things, I usually find someone or a group of people I feel comfortable with and stay with them. I do cope very well being in front of huge crowds and am never shy when I get up and perform, this is when I am at my happiest.
Name 3 things you can’t live without?
My mum, my friends and the catwalk
What is your favorite healthy food?
Grilled Chicken Wraps
And your favorite cheat food?
Who are some of your favorite models and designers, and why?
Hendrik Vermeulen, Valantino, Gucci are my favourite designers and my favourite models are Karlie Kloss and Cara Delevingne.
How would you describe your fashion style?
Trendy, chic and most of all comfortable.
Five years from now you will be….
The face of a big clothing company and still travelling the world modelling and encouraging people to be more inclusive and accepting.
What do you think of the Social Media?
Well without social media people would not know me and I would not be able to spread my word of encouragement etc. If we did not have social media the average person would not have a voice, it is the thing that has changed our world the most, now the big companies are not the only ones that decide what will be seen in our communities, the average person decides what is interesting and they share it and if enough people love something it will go viral and can change a person’s life, like mine was changed, it is only by the love of people who support me that I continue to work, grow and do the things I love. So please support me and follow me on social media.
Where we can follow you?
And my Website is madelinestuartmodel.com
Favorite Book: I don’t read a lot but the last book I was given was the Art of Swedish Death Cleaning that was very interesting.
Sports Team: I don’t really have one, I just love watching all sports, it is more about the action, the team spirit and the atmosphere sports create.
Drink: Diet Coke and sparkling water
Song: Anything by Lady Ga Ga and Gangman Style
Travel destination: New York, New York
Movie: I love Thor and the movies on Super Hero’s.
Tv Show: Any show that is funny like Blooper shows or funniest home videos.
Photographer: Duncan Killick
Styling: Nicole Bonython-Hines