The good parts of someone else’s journey are what you see when you see them triumph. Most people don’t take into account the amount of effort it took to get there. The people that stuck with them through thick and thin know how hard it can be to fight for a dream. We still live in a world where canons of beauty are still fairly rigid, so this is even truer when it comes to people with disabilities.
Bright Side wanted to share the story of a model with Down syndrome who inspired many to follow their dreams.
Jessica is from Venezuela and lives in Valencia. She fought for her dreams despite being born with Down syndrome. She achieved her goal of becoming a professional model after many years of hard work and dedication.
“I want to be an international model.” “I like the pictures, I like to walk the runway.” Jessica has the personality and mastery on stage to choose her own aesthetic and beauty aspects that are conquering many people. Thanks to the support of her mother, who has accompanied and guided her, her dream has led her to the beginning of a very exciting international career.
When she was starting high school, Jessica was already practicing gymnastics, swimming, and athletics, but they didn’t make her happy. Jessica and her mother accepted an invitation to a beauty contest for girls with Down syndrome because they wanted to try something new. “In no sport did I see her happy, I saw that she was wasting her time and I was wasting mine too. When I saw her walk the runway I realized that this was her world, not mine.”
She realized that Jessica had taken the wrong path when she saw her so happy and free.
“For me, being a model is like studying a career that you like, that you are really passionate about, and even if you don’t believe it, it takes dedication and innovation to improve yourself. The minute I’m on the catwalk, I become someone else. It’s almost as if there was someone else inside me suddenly coming out. I feel empowered.”
She has participated in many castings and only once in a modeling contest. Her mom supported her in signing up for these events. She would use social media to look for opportunities for her daughter.
Jessica was invited to model by local entrepreneurs. They describe her as admirable. She is carving her own path in the world of catwalks because of her charisma and strength.
They have overcome challenges. As her mother says, “There is still a long way to go in Venezuela in terms of inclusion. The few big modeling agencies I’ve tried to get her into to give her a push always tell me they’re going to call me and they never do, the same goes with some brands.”
Jessica and her mother have been down for a long time. They have gone through a lot. Her mom is in charge of her social media. “As I would like her to make her dream come true, I can’t get enough, and I know that someday she will achieve it.”
Jessica became a certified member of the Venezuela Red Cross because of her participation in the project of the Carabobo-Valencia branch, “We are different, but not inferior”.
“Being a Red Cross member was a very nice and educational experience, of which I feel very proud. The project showed me that I could do anything I set my mind to and that I could perform various activities. That is why I am in a dance academy, also in skating.”
“Thanks to the project, I shared for the first time with kids with Down syndrome in various activities, as I have always been included with regular kids.”
Her mother also shared her experience with us: “As a mother, you feel proud that your daughter is reaching her goals. Her day-to-day life is like any other person’s: she goes to school, to extra-curricular activities, we don’t really make a big deal about modeling at home. We haven’t changed our humble approach to life, in fact, many parents with children with this condition have written to us asking for advice.”
“As a mother, I advise other parents and kids to:
- Not to be discouraged when something goes wrong and not to be afraid to dabble in new projects.
- As parents, don’t focus on your dreams but on your child’s dreams. Do not feel anxious if you don’t see results overnight, there’s a good time for everything.
- Do not try to make your child be someone that (s)he’s not, let them be themselves. Work and strive. Nothing is easy, but nothing is impossible either.
- Don’t compare to others, the key to success is to treat your children normally.”
After at least 10 years of hard work and dedication, Jessica can see that her parents are happy. “My parents are very happy and proud of me, as they see that every day I work hard and I’m very disciplined, every day more and more. And of course, they see I’m happy, which is what they really want for me.”
What does beauty mean to you? What motivates you most in life?