Teenage girl with Down Syndrome makes history as she walks at New York Fashion Week
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A 14-year-old model who has been diagnosed with Down syndrome made history as she posed on the catwalk for New York Fashion Week.
Monika Myers, from Toronto, Canada, has loved experimenting with her hair, makeup and dresses since she was a little girl, with her mum, Stephanie, fondly recalling how she did her own runway walk when she was just two years old.
Many young kids probably have similar experiences in their past, but not all of them grow up to take on a real runway like Monika did after signing with international model agency Zebedee.
Stephanie explained that the family has 'always celebrated everything [Monika] does and have always appreciated her', noting that the teen was 'never shy in front of the camera'.
After being inspired by other models with Down syndrome, Monika took up modelling and went on to take part in a number of fashion shows.
She became the first Canadian model with the condition to walk at Toronto Kid's Fashion Week, and stepped up her game even further recently as she took on the prestigious New York Fashion Week.
Recalling the incredible event, Stephanie said: "I was so proud of her, when I first saw her walking in Toronto Kid's Fashion Week it was so emotional, and then when I saw her in New York I cried so much. To see these changes happening in this industry is amazing!
"She's the first Canadian Down syndrome model to be in the show. It really makes you think that no matter what, we're all equal and just seeing how much she loved it was so special. On the runway she performs so well, she's definitely a woman in control and you could tell she was feeling so confident and believes in herself."
Monika was chosen to walk for Primark and high-end dress designer Wanda Beauchamp Couture, and said it felt 'amazing' to be included in the show.
"I was wearing such nice outfits and I met a lot of really cool people," the 14-year-old said. "I felt like a princess, there were two people doing my hair and I also had my makeup done."
Monika said she 'wasn't nervous at all', pointing out she's 'brave and beautiful'.
"Primark was a fun walk, I did a twirl and a hair flick. I wore a green jacket and pleather shorts with silver combat boots – I loved it. For Wanda I wore a beautiful big dress. It was more of a serious walk so I had a serious expression, but it was still fun."
Stephanie admitted that as a parent to someone who has Down syndrome she worries 'a lot', but said she was 'so proud' to see her daughter walking in New York, adding: "She's so proud of herself too."