Known for her impeccable acting on the award-winning television show American Horror Story, 30 year-old Jamie Brewer has undoubtedly shattered tired norms and challenged stereotypes long upheld in Hollywood and beyond.
But nowhere are the stereotypes and accepted ideals of beauty more heavily rooted than in the cold depths of the fashion industry. Yet even still, Brewer has broken the mold, landing a spot on the New York Fashion Week runway, making her the first model with down syndrome ever to walk the strip.
Brewer will model a design from Carrie Hammer, who is most known for featuring women who, astonishingly, don’t look like supermodels in her shows — in a campaign called “Role Models Not Runway Models.”
“Young girls and even young women…[see me] and say ‘hey, if she can do it so can I,'” Brewer told Today. “It’s a true inspiration being a role model for any young women to [encourage them] in being who they are and showing who they are.”
Brewer’s passion to inspire also extends into the down syndrome community, having served on the State of Texas ARC Board, the ARC Governmental Affairs Committee for the State of Texas, and being involved in multiple non-profits, including the National Down Syndrome Congress and American Association of People with Disabilities of the United States.
Carrie Hammer’s lineup of cat-walkers came from an idea of showcasing female clients who simply bought her designs, including leaders of multibillion dollar businesses, heads of global nonprofits, pioneers of cutting-edge research, and women who just rock, such as Hammer’s friend, a sex therapist who happens to be in a wheelchair. “I never intended for it to be a big statement,” she told Today.
Katie Driscoll, co-founder of Changing the Face of Beauty, a non-profit that encourages the media to include people with disabilities, was ecstatic to hear of Hammer’s vision. This inspired Driscoll to ask Hammer if her own daughter, Katie, who also had down syndrome, could take part as well.
The consideration of Brewer was a quick and easy decision, Hammer says.
What an incredibly fresh idea. Hopefully this is the first of many norm-breaking events to sprout up in Hollywood and the fashion world. From what we’ve seen of Brewer already, we know she is going to kill it on that runway!
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