Meet the trailblazing model with Down's Syndrome who is paving the way for others with disabilities
Last August, Kate Grant became the first model with Down's Syndrome to win an international beauty pageant. After she was crowned champion of the Teen Ultimate Beauty Of The World pageant, she told Mirror UK, "I was in shock. My family were all in the audience, crying and cheering. My dream has come true. And that dream is to get a chance to inspire young people who have Down’s syndrome and other special needs to believe in themselves."
Now the trailblazing 20-year-old model, who hails from Northern Ireland, has accomplished another milestone. Benefit Cosmetics, which sells makeup in over 2,000 shops in 30 countries, selected Grant to become a brand ambassador. On Instagram, the cosmetics giant shared photos of her modeling a new eyeliner. In the comments, people praised Grant's beauty and thanked Benefit for being such an inclusive company. "This makes my heart sooo happy!" wrote one IG user. "My brother has DS & I love that the stigma around DS isn’t what it used to be."
Kate's proud mother, Deirdre Grant, opened up to Metro about how much the new campaign means to her:
"She is paving the way for people coming behind her. She is aware of that and wants to spread awareness about inclusion for people with disabilities and that is what she has done from the very start. She is aware that she is able to do that in a way some of her friends cannot. She is using her voice for them."
"She has a great drive to be a supermodel. I love her optimism and as her mum I would always be there to support her in that optimism. She does not allow obstacles to be in the way or her disability to stand in the way. When you are young you think the sky is the limit and with Kate she does not have the understanding that we have that there are obstacles in the way. She would say Down’s Syndrome does not define me – I am Kate."
She added: "Of course all of this wouldn’t have come to pass if Kate’s agent Cathy hadn’t given Kate that chance to allow her dreams to come true, by modeling on the catwalk in Belfast Fashion Week. [She's] a compassionate lady that took the time to care for another individual. This colossal act of kindness will be reciprocated by many blessings."
People with Down Syndrome are born with an extra chromosome, which affects their physical appearance, as well as their ability to think, learn and reason. In recent years, we've seen people with Down Syndrome achieve greater visibility in society. Gerber selected the first 'spokesbaby' with Down Syndrome; the first person with Down Syndrome competed in a Miss USA pageant; and a McDonald's worker with Down's Syndrome retired after 32 years of loyal service. Like Kate Grant, they are paving the way for others with disabilities.