Down Syndrome Role Model Walks New York Fashion Week Runway

Inspirational People - Jamie Brewer

Jamie Brewer, Down Syndrome activist and actress on American Horror Story, rocked New York Fashion Week
(Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images)

On February 12, 2015, Jamie Brewer altered the image of the model forever by becoming the first model with Down syndrome to ever walk at New York Fashion week. She sported a black, knee-length dress cinched at the waist, with a black belt to extenuate her small waist and curves, inspired by her character in American Horror Story. Brewer’s performance on the runway showed the world that everyone is beautiful inside and out, whether or not you represent the traditional model-like characteristics society has portrayed such as being tall, skinny, and flawless.

This inspirational move was all attributed to designer Carrie Hammer’s bold decision of showcasing role models rather than actual runway models. This wasn’t Hammer’s first spotlight on untraditional model’s at Fashion Week, after her decision from the previous year to use clients rather than models in order to present a variety of heights, weights, and ethnicities on stage. The performance resulted in the first model in a wheelchair, Danielle Sheypuk, to appear at New York Fashion Week.

Hammer’s showcase was inspired by Katie Driscoll, who has a campaign called “Changing the Trace of Beauty.” She asked if Hammer could place a role model at New York Fashion Week for her five-year-old daughter Grace, who also has Down syndrome. Katie suggested Jamie Brewer after being familiar with American Horror Story and her activism for Down syndrome awareness. Brewer had always been interested in fashion, stemming from her edgy and glitzy style on American Horror Story.

Jamie Brewer is an inspiration for all, advising people to “Be true to your heart” and to “put your whole heart and soul into it, and then whatever you do, it will shine through.” She continues with this powerful statement claiming, “We are one and the same. Our hearts beat as one. If we put our hearts into it – the fashion industry, any industry, our lives will be changed in the process, and the world will be changed as well.”

When young women and girls see Jamie Brewer on the stage at New York Fashion Week, they are able to see that dreams are limitless and to never let anybody tell you what you can and can’t do. She acts as a role model for those with Down syndrome by being true to herself and showing the world that anything is possible.

The thirty-year-old American Horror Story actress was the youngest person with Down syndrome to be appointed to the State of Texas ARC Board. She was also 1 of 17 people to represent all individuals with a disability in the state of Texas, and she served on the board for four years. Brewer was elected to the Executive Board for the State of Texas ARC as Treasurer, to which she served three years. Simultaneously, she worked on the Governmental Affairs Committee for the State of Texas, advocating for the disabled at the Texas State Capitol in order to alter the wording from Down syndrome to “intellectually disabled.”

At Everlasting Footprint, we commemorate the lives of anyone who has made an imprint on the world. By dedicating her life to changing the way people view Down syndrome and treat those with disabilities, Jamie Brewer has left an eternal impression on many hearts and lives. Brewer does not let her Down syndrome define her, as seen through her acting success in American Horror Story and activism with Down syndrome.

Jamie works tirelessly to inspire people, showing them that once you set your mind to something, the possibilities are endless – even beyond New York Fashion Week. With Brewer as a role model, many people are finally starting to see past people’s disabilities and treat those with an extra 21st chromosome with equal opportunity and respect.

About Sasha Polissky

Pursuing her BA in English with a minor in business, Sasha Polissky provides administrative and blogging support. Her interests include writing, photography, singing, and guitar, and she speaks English, Russian, and Spanish. She is involved Lady Spirit Hunters, and The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and writes to combine passion and information. Ms. Polissky’s dedication to Everlasting Footprint stems from the loss of her two grandmothers and grandfather to cancer. She uses her experience with loss to write and connect the Everlasting Footprint community.

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