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4-Year-Old Boy With Down Syndrome Becomes A Model

riley baxter, down syndrome, model
Instagram/smiley_riley2014

While we still have a long way to go, it’s good to see we’re making strides with inclusivity in advertising and media. It’s so important to see underrepresented minority groups—people of different colors, sizes, sexualities, and abilities—everywhere we look because representation matters. That’s just one reason it’s so great to see that a 4-year-old boy with Down Syndrome has landed a modeling gig in his native UK.

 

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Riley Baxter lives in Kent, England and has apparently always dreamed of becoming a model. Despite his struggles with Down Syndrome and the fact that he’s only 4, he’s already managed to achieve that goal, landing gigs modeling for Little Bird Clothing by Jools Oliver and appearing in an advertisement for Mothercare.

We all know how tough the world can be for kids, especially those with disabilities. This was something Riley’s mother always worried about since her son was born.

“After we were told he had Down Syndrome I cried, not for the case that I would love him any less but just knowing how cruel the world can be,” she explained. “That was the first thing that went through my mind but obviously my perceptions were wrong, and wow how wrong I was.”

 

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Things certainly haven’t been easy for Riley. Because of weak muscles, he used a walker until he was three years old. However, he recently began standing and walking on his own, which is a true testament to his courage and perseverance. In fact, despite the challenges Riley has faced, his success in modeling and his positive overall attitude are inspiring other kids who may be going through something similar.

“With his walking, he has to work twice as hard as anyone else to do what they are doing. When he walks a mile it’s like walking two for anyone else, but his determination to keep going is the one thing we constantly see,” his dad said.

 

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Riley has been working with Zebedee Management, an agency which specializes in working with models with disabilities and helps them find casting opportunities they may not otherwise have been exposed to or known about.

As Zebedee writes on their website, “Disability has often been left out of the diversity debate, and we often receive casting calls looking for ‘diversity,’ but with no mention of disability. Disability seems to be the last taboo – however we want to change this. We want it to be the norm that advertising using people with disabilities becomes commonplace.”

 

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It seems like Riley is in good hands (and he’s incredibly cute, to boot).

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