This beachwear company in Florida just added a fresh face into their roster of models, and he is already making waves in the industry because of his charisma.
In a blog post, Surf Style announced that a new model will be joining them – Ethan Holt, a 16-year-old athlete with Down syndrome.
According to Surf Style, they met the aspiring model through Help Us Gather (HUG), “a nonprofit organization advocating for the inclusion of people with special needs”.
“We jumped on the opportunity to include Ethan in our marketing, not only because of his incredible charismatic personality and love of the camera, but also to set an example of inclusion,” the beachwear company wrote.
On the day of the photoshoot, Ethan and the team went to Surf Style’s flagship store in Clearwater Beach, where Ethan modeled a variety of the company’s colorful surf wear. In a video, the new model can be seen working the camera, flashing his irresistible smile during every shot.
Ethan, who is in his junior year of high school, is the perfect representative for the beachwear company. He possesses a love for water sports – he swims for his high school’s team and the Florida Division of the Special Olympics, where he is also a member of the paddle board team.
The active teen has earned multiple gold medals on both regional and state levels.
“Anytime he gets to compete, whether its paddle board or swimming, he always gets gold,” said Ethan’s mother, Phoy Holt.
Aside from thriving in water sports, Ethan also plays soccer, baseball, and wrestling.
“He’s definitely that active guy that you would expect to be representing the brand,” says Robin Lally, the founder of HUG.
With his charisma and carefree personality, Ethan has always been a performer at heart. The teen wants to be a YouTuber and a social media influencer. He’s also into singing, dancing, and rapping!
Through HUG, Ethan’s potential for modeling was discovered. Phoy has been seeing HUG’s events on Facebook and thought that it looked like an organization that they should be part of.
Their first event with HUG was a photo shoot, and Phoy told her son that he could wear anything, so he decided to don his three-piece suit.
Every shot of Ethan looked amazing, and that’s when Robin knew that the teen had something special in him.
“He studies it, you know, he practices. So that’s when I realized, if he’s willing to do the work, and he gets it, then he’s good at it; so we thought he could make a career out of it. Models know how to move, and he brings his personality with it,” he said.
The beachwear company says that the public’s response to Ethan representing Surf Style has been “incredibly positive”. Local media stations, people in social media, and the special needs community all feel inspired by his story.
“He’s a big influence and example for all the little guys that also have Down Syndrome, and they see what he can do and [are] very proud of that,” Phoy says.
And as for Ethan, he is enjoying the recognition he is getting as a model.
“My friends on the swim team and a couple of girls, even my coach knows, say I’m a famous model now,” says Ethan.
Watch Ethan’s interview with 10News WTSP in the video below.