New York Fashion Week isn't the kind of event that usually draws my attention, but this year, a very special person is going to be walking the runway. For several months, Madeline Stuart, a young Australian girl with Down syndrome and more than 400,000 fans on Facebook, has been on track to making her dream come true: becoming a professional model. I have been following her journey on social media for the past few months.
Last July, my husband and I wrote a post about her. It is even more topical today. Here it is:
Madeline isn't our daughter. Madeline is blond, Louise is brunette. Madeline is 20-years-old, Louise is 7 months, Madeline is Australian, Louise is French. They don't have a lot in common, except for a 47th chromosome in every cell of their bodies.
She isn't our daughter, but we're proud of Madeline. Because, as a little girl, Madeline didn't have a lot of friends, and today she has 400,000 of them on Facebook. Because she has opened the eyes of thousands of "normal" people and has "changed what is considered "beautiful." And because she has accomplished her dream, regardless of what people think and what they told her in the past.
Like Chris who learned to drive, Emmanuel Joseph, a violinist, Madison who sang at the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics in Los Angeles, and like thousands of others.
Perhaps Louise will dream someday of breeding horses in the American mid-west (or at least that's what her mom would like!). Or of becoming an elementary school teacher. Or President of the Republic. Maybe she won't be any of that, and it doesn't really matter.
When a baby who is different is born, the very first thing that is taken away from his parents is the dream, the essential need that they feel to imagine this future being, a sum of all their expectations.
After that, it's this same drive that people try to take away from the child as he is growing up. Madeline, Chris, Joseph, remind us as parents, as children, and as everyone else who is "different," that people are so quick to put in a box, that dreaming is a right. Dreams are the driving force of change.
The amazing photos taken at the Edison Photographer: Erica A. Nichols www.ericanichols.com Maddy is styled by Daniel...
This post originally appeared on HuffPost France and has been translated from the original French.