Jamie Brewer made history on Thursday when the American Horror Story star became the first model with Down syndrome to ever walk at New York Fashion Week.
The actress was featured as part of designer Carrie Hammer’s show, which used the runway to showcase role models instead of fashion models. Hammer began this tradition last year when her show included the first Fashion Week model in a wheelchair, Dr. Danielle Sheypuk.
“We were never trying to make a statement,” Hammer told Time. “We don’t think of [Sheypuk] as being in a wheelchair. We don’t define her that way … but it went really viral. We got hundreds of emails for girls and their moms thanking us.”
One woman who reached out to Hammer was Katie Driscoll, the co-founder of Changing the Face of Beauty, an organization that advocates for the inclusion of people with disabilities. It was Driscoll who first suggested Hammer approach Brewer about appearing. “I thought she would provide a great role model for Grace [Driscoll’s daughter with Down syndrome],” Hammer said. “Jamie is amazing … she has a light and enthusiasm that is incredible.”
And when Brewer stepped onto the catwalk Thursday, she walked the runway like she was born to do it, unable to keep the grin off her face. “It exceeded all of my expectations,” Hammer said. “What I love about our shows everyone is smiling, everyone is having a good time.”
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