Beauty is never as rigidly defined in real life as fashion magazines would have you believe. Fortunately, a new generation of models is using their visibility to expand what beauty looks like in the industry.
Ellie Goldstein is one such rising star in the modeling world. The 18-year-old from Britain has Down syndrome and is joining the ranks of other esteemed models like her, including Madeline Stuart, Sofía Jirau and Kate Grant. This summer she snagged a major campaign with Gucci Beauty and Vogue Italia.
Goldstein was chosen as part of the two brands’ “Unconventional Beauty” campaign which supports models who defy stereotypes. Gucci Beauty posted a stunning portrait featuring Goldstein’s glowing smile and long black hair while sporting the brand’s Mascara L’Obscur on its Instagram.
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The Instagram scouting partnership between #GucciBeauty and @vogueitalia is celebrated in a special editorial shot by @davidpdhyde—the first photographer selected through the scouting—featuring model Ellie @elliejg16_zebedeemodel wearing Gucci Mascara L’Obscur. #AlessandroMichele @gucci @alessandro_michele
“It feels so amazing and fabulous to be part of the Gucci Beauty campaign,” she told British Vogue. “I feel so proud of myself, especially to have been chosen for this. When I look at the images, I feel happy with myself and all the likes and comments on social media across the world have been overwhelming.”
Zebedee Management, an agency for models with disabilities, began representing Goldstein when she was 15.
“Representation is very important to me — let the world see that anyone can model and act with a disability,” she told British Vogue.
While Goldstein says living with Down syndrome has been largely positive, there have been some hurdles navigating the industry.
“The only challenge I have faced was maybe people signing to me and talking to my mum instead of me until realizing that I can communicate and that I am just like them, maybe just slower at learning some things,” she said. “Once people realize I can talk and have a great character, they are different towards me and they smile.”
The 18-year-old has big dreams for her modeling career.
“My dream job [is to] be on the front cover of Vogue and work for other big brands,” she told British Vogue. “My hopes and dreams are to show the world who I am and what I can achieve.”
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