Izzy Bradley, a 2-year-old Minnesota girl with Down syndrome, made headlines this week for appearing in a Target print campaign. Rocking a frilly pink-and-purple dress, Izzy poses next to an activity cube on sale for $49.
"I really appreciate Target's policy of including them in their ads," says Heather Bradley, Izzy's mom, who heads the local chapter of the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network. "I'm really surprised at how much excitement has come from it. I've had people share it so many times. On Facebook … it's got up to half a million likes."
Models with Down syndrome have been making inroads of late. In 2012, a boy named Ryan appeared in circulars and catalogs for Target and Nordstrom, while Valentina Guerrero, a 10-month-old from Miami, made a splash fronting a campaign for Spanish swimwear designer Dolores Cortés. Last year, teenager Karrie Brown appeared in a photoshoot for clothing line Wet Seal.
"I really just hope that if a new mom, or an expectant mom, were to see a little girl [with Down's] in an ad, that they would just have that sense of hope for their child," says Heather Bradley, "and that they would know there's a great future for them."
What's more, such appearances help shatter stereotypes as we strive for a more inclusive society where different is the new normal, not something to be feared or shunned.