Model With Down Syndrome Demonstrates Path To Dreams Is Open For Those With High Talent

Jan 24, 2021 by apost team

Marián Ávila, 23, is a Spanish fashion model with Downs syndrome featured on various runways across the world, including at New York Fashion Week in 2018. Since her modeling debut, she has overcome her condition's challenges, made a name for herself, and now advocates for people with Downs syndrome.

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Ávila has proved to the world that if you have a true dream, you can achieve it no matter what. People with Down syndrome usually face issues when searching for jobs, according to The Guardian. However, Ávila has overcome and established a career as a model. People like her, who reach their goals despite their circumstances, are inspiring, and this is her story.

Living With Down Syndrome

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that is brought about by having part or all of a third copy of chromosome 21. People with Down syndrome usually experience delayed physical growth, low to mild intellectual disability and certain facial features, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC).

The CDC's website further explains that doctors are still unsure of what causes Down syndrome, though there are certain risk factors. For example, mothers at or over the age of 35 tend to give birth to children with Down syndrome more often.

Although Down syndrome is a lifelong condition, certain interventions — like speech and occupational therapy — can be helpful. In this way, Down syndrome might sound like a definite setback — but that didn't stop Ávila from pursuing her passion.

According to Ávila's website, the up-and-coming model began her career by attending formal modeling courses in Madrid between 2015 and 2016. 

The Birth of the Modelling Dream

Her first opportunity to walk across the catwalk as a model came shortly thereafter in March of 2016 at a charity show held in Madrid by designer Lina Lavin. From then on, Ávila broke several more professional milestones. According to the model's website, she became the first Spanish model with Down syndrome ever featured on social media in March 2016, she was featured in online publication El Espanol's June 2016 issue and she was invited to model at Sevilla Fashion Week in September 2016.

And then something amazing happened. In 2018, Ávila was invited to New York Fashion Week.

On her website, Ávila is quoted as saying, "In April, I got a letter saying that designer Talisha White wanted me to walk as her 'celebrity model' at New York Fashion Week on September 8, 2018. Finally, finally! I couldn't stop crying from the emotion. I kept repeating, 'It's my dream, it's my dream.'"

She continued by saying, "That date is fast approaching, every time I think about it a lump in my throat makes me want to cry, I am very excited. I am going to parade in New York, I have no words. I am going to fulfill my dream ... I never thought that a girl, without knowing me, would believe in me, in my effort. She is my angel!"

New York Fashion Week

The angel Ávila was referring to is teenager Kenzie Dugmore who was the daughter of the Fashion Week model coordinator at the time. Dugmore came across an article about Ávila dream to feature in the Fashion Week and wrote to the girl on Facebook.

"Hello! I am the winner of the Miss Citrus State Junior Jr contest and I live in the United States,” the Facebook message read, according to Euronews.

“I just read an article about you that has touched my heart," the message continued. "I noticed that you've always wanted to parade at New York Fashion Week! It turns out that I am the daughter of the model coordinator for New York Fashion Week and we would like to make your dream come true ... Please, tell me if you are interested."

Ávila graced the prestigious New York Fashion Week runway on Sept. 8, 2018 and debuted several outfits. For those who don't know, New York Fashion Week is a bi-annual series of events that lasts about seven to nine days. It is held in February and September of each year. The press, buyers and the general public get to see international fashion collections, and it is part of the Big 4 major fashion weeks globally, with the others being London, Paris and Milan. In other words, it's quite a big deal in the fashion world.

She received a lot of support from her family, who cheered her up in the runway hall. When asked in a September 2018 interview with El Espanol who her main source of support was, Ávila said that her sister was her biggest supporter in part because she helped her take photos for her social media.

And when asked about how Fashion Week was, the young model said, "The truth is that it has been very exciting. I have no words. It was a dream."

Life Beyond Modeling

After Fashion Week, Ávila received even more opportunities in the fashion industry. According to NiT, Levi's featured the young model in one of its campaigns, which the company posted to Levi's Spain account.

Ávila also takes vocal lessons and learns English when she is not busy modeling or doing regular training at home. She seems very determined, which certainly explains her success. She also makes sure to use social media and her public appearances to generate awareness for Down syndrome and the struggles people with the condition go through, inspiring them to believe that they can be anything they want.

Ávila's achievements as a model and role model were recognized when she was awarded the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award on Nov. 14, 2020. This award celebrates those who champion differently-abled people — including people with Down syndrome — in various categories like self-advocacy, humanitarian work and public service. Quincy Jones is an American record producer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, film and television producer. He is the Global Down Syndrome Foundation's first international spokesman, and the award was established in his honor.

Ávila's story is truly inspiring and helps to change people's entire perspective about Down syndrome. People with down syndrome can live out their best lives and aspire to fulfill their dreams and aspirations if they are determined and receive the necessary support. Parents of children with Down's syndrome should motivate them and grant them opportunities to express their talents and abilities. And if you have doubts, Ávila is living proof.

As for what the 23-year-old talent is planning next, you might be surprised.

 “I am preparing to go to university and study journalism. I want to be a journalist and write books like JK Rowling's," the model said in an interview with Vanity Fair back in 2018.

Given how far Ávila has come, we have no doubt she'll succeed.

What is your view on this story? Are you inspired? Do you know anyone who is differently-abled and still pursuing their dream? Let us know — and don't forget to pass this inspiring story on to your friends and family members.

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