Model With Down Syndrome Walks Runway at New York Fashion Week

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Runway of dreams! A 21-year-old Spanish model with down syndrome achieved her goal of walking at New York Fashion Week thanks to designer Talisha White.

Marian Avila made her runway debut at the designer’s Saturday show wearing two different looks: a red gown and blush mini design with a a matching cape. Afterwards, Avila told reporters through a translator, “I felt really happy and I really loved the runway. I wanted to show the world that there are no barriers.”

She added that she “practices every day” and is “studying modeling and [wants to] become an actress.”

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The Atlanta-based designer recruited Avila to walk in her show after she learned of her fashion week dream and story on Facebook.

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“She’s been a busy supermodel, meeting with all types of people,” White said. “I’m very glad for her. She’s been meeting with Vogue. She’s been meeting with Harper’s Bazaar. She’s been meeting in different showrooms, different modeling agencies.”

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According to the brand’s website, White’s mission is “to change the world one stitch at a time, through the dresses we create and the moments our customers will never forget. We know our dresses alone aren’t going to change the world, but we are confident the women who wear them absolutely will.”

The statement continues: “We believe every girl is royalty and deserves to be treated and feel accordingly. Media, modeling, and even pageantry often portray the ‘it’ girl. While she is beautiful, we believe she is not the only definition of beauty. That’s why we have diverse representation of our label to show that beauty is in everyone, and we are all the ‘it’ girl.”

Besides Avila, White showed diversity in all forms on her runway by including one model in a wheelchair, Tae McKenzie from North Carolina, and another young girl with down syndrome.

“People like Marian Avila and Tae McKenzie, who are breaking boundaries in the fashion industry,” White said. “I like to showcase all types of girls [and] giving girls opportunities to blossom and fulfill their dreams.”

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