When Jamie Brewer strides down the catwalk during New York Fashion Week, she’ll not only be showing off an original design by Carrie Hammer, but she will also become the first woman & model with Down syndrome to grace the runway.
“Young girls and even young women … [see me] and say ‘hey, if she can do it so can I,’” says Brewer, an actress known for her work on “American Horror Story” and an advocate for people with intellectual disabilities. “It’s a true inspiration being a role model for any young women to [encourage them] in being who they are and showing who they are.”
Brewer is modeling as part of Hammer’s “Role Models Not Runway Models,” a campaign the designer started when she was first asked to show her line at Fashion Week a year ago. Hammer wanted to represent the women who bought her designs and realized that featuring her clients—leaders of multibillion dollar businesses, heads of global nonprofits, pioneers of cutting-edge research, and women who just rock—would do exactly that. For her first show, she invited her friend, Danielle Sheypuk, who uses a wheelchair, to be a model.
“I called up my existing clients who were all incredible women and one of them happened to be a doctor and a sex therapist who happened to be in wheelchair,” Hammer told TODAY.com. “It was never intended to be this incredible statement.”
But it was. Hundreds of women and girls contacted Hammer to thank her. One email stuck out: Every time Hammer read it, she cried. It was from Katie Driscoll, co-founder of Changing the Face of Beauty, a nonprofit that encourages media to include people with disabilities.
Read more at TODAY.