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Down syndrome Doesn’t Stop Her from Modeling

Monday, June 23rd, 2014 by Raluca Besliu

Karrie Brown fell in love with Wet Seal clothes at the age of 15. Karrie, who has Down syndrome, thought the clothes were cute, comfy, and itch-free, and she started dreaming of the day when she could become a model for her favorite clothing store. Relentless in her vision, Karrie managed to turn her dream into reality in just two years.

cropped wet seal

In August 2013, with the help of her mother, Sue Brown, Karrie opened a Facebook page, entitled Karrie Brown Modeling the Future. On the page, she started uploading photos of herself dressed in Wet Seal clothes every day.

Facebook users instantly supported Karrie’s cause, by campaigning for her and championing her with tweets, texts and voicemails to Wet Seal, demanding the clothing company to check her out and select her as a model. Since, on its official website, Wet Seal professes to support diversity and inclusion, Karrie’s dream seemed to be all the more justified.

Due to overwhelming public support on behalf of Karrie, Wet Seal contacted the young girl and her family within days after the page was opened to offer her a photo shoot, if she could get 10,000 Facebook ‘likes’ for her page by the end of the week. She exceeded the demand, by reaching 11,000 followers.

Wet Seal flew Karrie and her mother to the company’s headquarters in Los Angeles, California and offered the young girl the full-fledged fashion shoot that she had dreamt of for so long. Karrie turned out to be a natural model. All it took was a photo shoot soundtrack of favorite music, and took it off from there.

The young girl has continued to model. She has done four photo shoots to date, two for Wet Seal and two for different photography studios for their advertising.

Through modeling, Karrie brings an important message to the modeling and fashion industries, which promote an incredibly limited understanding of beauty, based on the use and promotion of skinny, tall, long-haired models. She brings a fresh attitude about embracing your body type and being yourself, while representing all girls whose bodies are not appreciated and represented by the fashion industry .

Karrie’s main goal through her work is to inspire people to follow their dreams and not to limit themselves due to the challenges they may face. Karrie does not regard herself as a person with disability. She considers herself a very able person, who happens to have Down syndrome and autism. Through her modeling work, she is helping to change the way society looks at people with disabilities.

Apart from modeling, Karrie has also been on her high-school’s honor roll, sings in the high-school choir and has been named Youth of the Year at the local YMCA for her volunteering.

Since beginning her modeling career, Karrie has acquired an international following. Her Facebook page is now followed by over 31,000 people in 45 countries, which continue to offer her constant support.

Karrie has also created a non-profit, Karried Away, designed to help others with diagnoses find meaningful employment in their communities. She accepts no money for her work, instead asking companies to donate a reasonable tax-free contribution to Karried Away. Karrie also does personal appearances, mostly in Illinois and Missouri, but in other parts of the U.S. as well.  She dreams to meet Ellen Degeneres and dance with her on her show. Karrie has a way of making her dreams come true.

The young model and changemaker has a message for other young people with Down syndrome, autism and other people with different diagnoses: “Don’t be defined by your diagnosis! You are a person who has dreams and wishes. Keep your eye on the goal!”

 If interested in finding out more about Karrie, like her Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/karriebrownmodel?fref=ts

Also, you can check out her nonprofit, Karried away, here: http://www.karriedaway.org/

Related stories:  “So, what’s the matter with the way I look?  SPARK fights back.”

Emmanuel Bishop: the teenage violinist with Down syndrome

Tim’s Place: A restaurant run by a young man with Down syndrome

“… So, What’s the matter with the way I look?  SPARK fights back”

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