The Gucci Model with Down’s Syndrome

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA

President, bSci21Media, LLC

In a previous bSci21 article, Meghan Cave and Justyna Balzar, both Board Certified Behavior Analysts, highlighted the need for advocacy for special needs populations.  In doing so, they stressed the need to look at the larger contexts and power dynamics in which certain populations find themselves. The ultimate goal of advocacy is to help ensure a fulfilling life for those who may be at a disadvantage.

A prime example comes from Ellie Goldstein, an 18-year-old British model with Down’s Syndrome, and the support she received from her parents that started her down the path to modelling for Gucci.  Her story was recently featured in an interview with Vogue.

With the help of her mother, she started modelling at the age of 15, after signing on with Zebedee Management, an agency that specializes in models with disabilities and “alternative appearances.”  She grew up idolizing beauty icons such as Marilyn Monroe, and getting into makeup with her sister at an early age.

She then focused on Instagram and the positive attention she was receiving on the platform.  She noted “the best part of modelling is showing myself off to everyone. I love to be in front of the camera and show how professional I am.”

Along the way, she experienced a few obstacles, such as people talking to her mother instead of directly to her, before they realized she could communicate on her own.  She noted “people should give us a chance” and enjoys being a role model to her fans around the world with a message of confidence.

You can read the full interview at Vogue.

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA is a science writer, social philosopher, behavioral systems analyst, and the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which aims to connect behavioral science to the world in an engaging, non-academic way.  Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar.  He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues.  His publications follow a theme of behavioral systems analysis, organizational performance, theory & philosophy, and language & cognition.  He has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ward can be reached at todd.ward@bsci21.org

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