Teen becomes first model with Down syndrome to star in ad campaigns for Gucci and Vogue

We rarely see people with disabilities featured in ad campaigns, but that trend is slowly changing as more and more companies are promoting inclusivity in their marketing initiatives.

Ellie Goldstein, an 18-year-old model from Essex, England, just starred in an Instagram campaign by Gucci Beauty. She’s the first model with Down Syndrome to pose for the brand, and she did so with such flair! In fact, she’s just become one of Gucci’s most popular models on the platform, with her photo gaining over 800,000 likes since its posting.

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The teenager modeled Gucci Mascara L’Obscur, a product from the brand’s beauty range, which was then featured through a partnership with Vogue Italia. Ellie spent a day in London and posed for photographer David PD Hyde with two other models during the shoot for Gucci.

This opportunity would be a huge deal for any up-and-coming model, but for Ellie, it is a big step forward. People with disabilities have been “invisible” in ad campaigns for so long, and a person with Down syndrome modeling for an international brand means that more companies are promoting equal representation.

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“I really enjoyed the modeling and loved wearing the Gucci dress. I’m really proud of the photoshoot and would love to be famous,” Ellie said of her experience. “I’m looking forward to modeling for other brands.”

Ellie got into modeling when she became part of Zebedee management—an agency representing people with disabilities—over three years ago. Ever since signing her contract in 2017, bookings for Ellie have started pouring in.

Her family is extremely proud of her achievements as a young woman thriving in the industry.

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“We’re all incredibly proud of Ellie and all the lovely comments she has had on Gucci’s Instagram,” said her mom Yvonne. “She has always loved being in the limelight and in front of the camera, she’s very confident and good at taking direction.”

Ellie, who is currently enrolled in a performing arts course, has always loved performing. According to Yvonne, her daughter has been taking dance and drama classes since age five.

“Drama is her passion and she has been in lots of shows. She is very outgoing and wants to be seen and heard,” she added.

Ellie also has a sharp memory and excellent English skills, both of which came in handy when she needed to memorize scripts.

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The teenager has participated in several ad campaigns, including the Superdrug Christmas advertisement in 2018 shown on prime time television. Last summer, she also took part in a Nike advert centered on the Women’s World Cup.

“Brands can no longer say that the “public don’t want to see” disabled models, as this Insta post proves otherwise!” Laura Johnson, a spokesperson for Zebedee, said.

“Inclusion of all people in the industry is so important, not only because it the right thing to do ethically, but also makes good business sense. The spending power of disabled people is estimated at £249 billion per year – it’s a massive market!” she added.

DAVID PD HYDE | VOGUE ITALIA

With her natural beauty and commendable work ethic, Ellie is set up for success.

“Ellie is such a wonderful person inside and out. She lights up the room when she walks in and is such a professional. She is incredibly skilled and such natural beauty. This means the world to her, her family and the wider community. We really hope that all brands take note and including disabled models now becomes the norm,” she said.

We’re excited to see what’s next for this beauty and for other models with disabilities. As society is becoming more accepting of change, long-held stigmas are becoming obsolete. As long people continue promoting inclusion and representation, a better and kinder world is surely ahead of us!