This Teen With Down Syndrome Is Living Out Her Dream Of Being A Model

October 2, 2015  |  

Not only is 17-year-old Gigi Cunningham pursuing her modeling dreams, but she’s raising awareness about Down syndrome and bullying in the process. This month alone, she will serve as one of three representatives in the Buddy Walk in Illinois, which is an event hosted by the National Down Syndrome Society, and will walk the runway in this year’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show taking place in Denver, Colorado, The Mighty reports.

Cunningham, who was born with Down syndrome, was bullied by her peers for years. Her mother, Erica Butler, says that the teen came home in tears one day saying that some girls at school had been taunting her about her looks. Instead of allowing harsh words to keep her down, Gigi decided to become an anti-bullying advocate. Thankfully, the beauty’s active career keeps her too occupied to be concerned her naysayers these days.

“When people read my story I want them to know that I can do anything, [and] with social media the world will see my true potential and beauty,” Gigi told The Mighty. “I want the modeling world to give me a chance also, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed. I want the world to really change how they perceive people with disabilities and continue to embrace their beauty. Never set limits on your child… they just might exceed them. People with Down syndrome are beautiful, smart, creative, loving, confident, and it should be displayed.”

Although she has already made some pretty major accomplishments, Gigi says that she realizes a career in entertainment will come with its share of ups and downs; however, she’s ready for the challenges ahead.

“Many doors will close, and many will open,” said Gigi. “Always approach your obstacle with an ‘I can’ attitude and with a smile on your face because you are worth it. My belief is that you can do all things through Christ and with prayer nothing is impossible. Never give up and if no one else believes in you, I do. We are winning. I am determined to help change the face of beauty.”

Her mother adds:

“Gigi has been turned away from many opportunities because she has Down syndrome. She has been told she is not what we are looking for and that people like that should stay at home, or she is not beautiful. People have said many cruel things and Gigi does not let that stop her from what she is destined to be, and that is greatness. Every morning before she goes to school she looks in the mirror and says ‘I’m beautiful’ and we high-five each other.”

We’re so proud of you, Gigi! Continue to follow your dreams!

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