Fashion news

Model with Down’s Syndrome relives incredible year

Ellie in a field

A disabled model who appeared in one of the world’s most prestigious fashion magazines has released a book documenting her incredible story.

Ellie Goldstein was born with Downs Syndrome, doctors told her parents she would never be able to walk or talk - but she went on to prove the professionals wrong,

Writing for BBC.co.uk her mum, Yvonne, shared Ellie’s early years when the family feared their child would lead a sheltered life.

‘When Ellie was born, we were shocked to learn she had Down's syndrome. The doctors said she would never walk or talk and a nurse suggested we might want to leave her at the hospital. I struggled to accept her diagnosis.’ the mother told BBC News.

By the time she was three, Ellie could read and walk, shining through at a mainstream school before being moved into specialist education to take her exams.

As she reached puberty her parents thought it was the right time to tell Ellie about her condition.

‘When she was a teenager, we decided to tell Ellie that she had Down's syndrome.’ Yvonne explained. ‘We were nervous about her reaction and showed her a special book but she kept saying, "I don't look like that. I'm me." I was worried it would knock her confidence, but it didn't.’

Yvonne heard about a talent agency called Zebedee, which works with disabled people. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for Ellie.

After being signed, the job offers started to roll in, the first saw Ellie star in a Christmas commercial for Superdrug in 2018.

There are still challenges ahead, as Yvonne went on to share now her daughter lives by herself the family still don’t know how independent she is.

‘Ellie recently bought her own home with the proceeds from her modelling but we don't know if she will ever be able to live alone. We are living alongside her for now, though we have kept our family home, and we are trying to encourage her to be more independent but she is still very vulnerable.’ said Yvonne.

Ellie herself told the BBC about her desire to make a name for herself in the fashion industry.

‘I always wanted to be a model but I didn't see anyone who looked like me on magazine covers so I wasn't sure if I could do it but now I am living my dream.’

She is the first to admit 2023 was a great year for her, taking part in London Fashion Week, publishing a book and being followed by a Channel 4 camera crew for a forthcoming documentary.

One of the highlights from the past twelve months was Ellie gracing the cover of Vogue, she remembers the moment when she heard the news.

‘When I did the Vogue shoot, I didn't know if my photo was going to be on the cover. My favourite teachers were there when I found out, I was at college, and I was crying and screaming. My friends said "we love you" and "we are proud of you" and "well done".’

She now has her sights on appearing on a particular BBC show to impress a panel of judges.

‘My absolute favourite thing in the world is dancing. One day I would love to be on Strictly Come Dancing. I went to watch it being filmed a few weeks ago, but I didn't want to be in the audience, I wanted to be on the dancefloor!’

[ Ellie was also chosen to promote the first Barbie doll with Down’s Syndrome ]

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