Bags are packed and there are butterflies swarming in my stomach. Liam, Grace and I will be heading out for a quick but meaningful trip to the “Big Apple” for Fashion Week. I am honored to be attending Carrie Hammers runway show. You might remember her from this show she held just one year ago. Since then Carrie has continued to use “Role Models” instead of runway models. This year is extra special because she picked a beauitful “Role Model” for my daughter Grace.
Jamie Brewer from American Horror Story will be walking the runway wearing one of Carries custom fit 2015 designs. All sounds like no big deal right but it is a very big deal because Jamie shares one thing in common with my daughter and that is an extra chromosome. Jamie also has Down syndrome. So that means history will be made Thursday morning as she steps onto that runway. She will be the first and only young women with Down syndrome to walk in New York City Fashion week. Pretty amazing right?
This show is so much bigger then my daughter. Carrie is giving thousands of young women with Down syndrome or any disabiltiy something to aspire too. She is giving them all a “role model” reminding them once again that anything and everything is possible.
You might be wondering how this all went down? Well I will tell you. Shortly after Dr. Danielle Sheypuk who happens to be in a wheelchair hit the runway I reached out to Carrie. That moment was a game changer for me. I knew in that instant that change was possible and there were a lot of people working to bring that change about. Here is what I said.
I had to write! Thank you for being the change that is long over due. I could literally cry every time I read an article talking about your decision to include a model who just happens to have a disability! YOU are what this world needed!
I am a mom of 6 children 5 boys and 1 amazing girl. 4 years ago my daughter was born with 1 tiny extra chromosome and because of that she has a diagnosis of Down syndrome. I made a decision to change the perception of beauty when I as given the gift of Grace. I taught myself photography to not only share my daughter but others who happen to be living with a disability in hopes that designers and advertisers like yourself would notice and make a change through inclusion of all people regardless of their diagnosis.
A friend of mine and I co-founded a campaign called changingthefaceofbeauty.org where we continue to write and encourage advertisers to take the chance. You have just made our job so much easier. Now I can reference such an amazing event as the 2014 NYFW where Carrie Hammer included a model who just happened to be in a wheelchair on the runway along side everyone else.
Thank you for changing perceptions and opening eyes to see the beauty in your products and people. You have opened up new opportunity for my daughter as well as all people who are living with a disability. I believe to my core that these decisions have a direct impact on the communication needed to show this world that the disability community is capable. Once people realize that acceptance will start to grow and foster opportunity and employment. Something we desperately need.”
Carrie and I have exchanged many emails since this one and I am happy to say we have become friends. I am sharing this for a lot of reasons. The first would be that I am extremely proud to make this memory with my son and daughter so that I can remind them to keep dreaming their dreams because sometimes they do come true. The next reason is a reminder that all it took was one email. Sometimes words on a computer screen can bring people together from across the country and completely change perceptions. The third reason is that I am so proud of the community of women I work with every day to really bring media and advertising inclusion to the forefront. Each and everyone of them are a huge part of this amazing story.
So I am signing off……I will be posting on Instagram over the next couple of days! I hope to keep you all in tune as Jamie prepares to WOW the crowd! So excited and thankful for her and her family. Thursday this young women will make history. Thank you Jamie for giving us all someone to look up to!