22-Year-Old Model With Down Syndrome Owns the Runway at NY Fashion Week: ‘There Are No Limits’

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Puerto Rican Sofia Jirau, a model with Down syndrome, has made a personal dream come true while flying the flag for inclusivity by walking the runway at New York Fashion Week for the very first time.

On Feb. 10, 2020, Sofia fulfilled a dream she has harbored since childhood. The ambitious 22-year-old, far from ready to stop after one catwalk show, now hopes to further her modeling career and continue to dispel misconceptions about what she and others with Down syndrome are able to achieve.

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de chinchorreo por mi islita 🌸

A post shared by Sofía Jirau • (@sofiajirau) on Aug 22, 2019 at 7:09am PDT

The stunning model posted a video from her runway show on Instagram, captioned: “One day I looked in the mirror and said, ‘I’m going to be a model and I’m going to get to New York,’ and look, here I am.”

In a second post, Sofia wrote that she was “born for this” beside a beautiful photo captured from halfway down the NYFW runway. “I want to show the world that I have everything a model needs to shine,” she added, translated into English from Sofia’s native Spanish as per Yahoo.

Sofia’s supportive family accompanied the model to New York City all the way from Puerto Rico to cheer her on during her much-anticipated moment in the spotlight. Sofia modeled for dress designer Marisa Santiago, an inclusivity advocate, at her Feb. 10 runway show.

“When I was little, I looked myself in the mirror and said, ‘I’m going to be a model and a businesswoman,’” Sofia told People from back home in Puerto Rico. “I felt really good the first time. Everyone clapped for me.”

For Sofía Jirau, no hay límites (there are no limits). 👏

Posted by People on Monday, February 17, 2020

In addition to furthering her modeling career, Sofia hopes to become a successful businesswoman with her own clothing brand, Alavett, a take on the unique way that Sofia likes to say “I love it.”

Sofia’s collection includes clothing, soft furnishings, and accessories. “‘Alavett’ is my cry of joy to the world,” Sofia says on her brand’s website.

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My sister en su graduacion!!! You did it😃 @sofiajirau

A post shared by Ignacio Jirau (@nacho_jirau) on May 28, 2013 at 3:12pm PDT

“Sofia’s desire is not only to be recognized as a professional,” the model’s bio explains, as translated into English, “[it] is also tied to her genuine desire to be an inspiration for those born with [an extra] chromosome, like her.”

The up-and-coming model and inclusivity advocate maintains an Instagram account dedicated to fashion and modeling photos. To date, Sofia’s account has over 65,000 followers.

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Vanesa. La mejor de todas. Las quiero mucho a todos mi fans numero 1

A post shared by Sofía Jirau • (@sofiajirau) on Jan 17, 2020 at 8:07pm PST

As for where the coming months will take her, Sofia has set her sights on an overseas venture. “I’m going to Europe later,” she explained to People. “And to the rest of the world.”

Armando Lorenzo, one of the volunteers on Sofia’s team, confirmed, “We’re trying to connect her with designers over there. If that’s her goal, it’s our challenge.”

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💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼. Trenar. Alavetttttttttttttttt. La sofiiii. La dura

A post shared by Sofía Jirau • (@sofiajirau) on Jan 8, 2020 at 5:17pm PST

Australian model Madeline Stuart, 23, was the first model with Down syndrome to walk the runway at New York Fashion Week back in 2016. Both people of Latin heritage and those with Down syndrome are historically underrepresented in the fashion industry; both Madeline and Sofia’s runway shows mark a crucial milestone for inclusivity.

Both models share a pivotal ambition. “I’m happy to change the way society looks at people with disabilities,” Madeline told The Washington Post in 2019. “I want the world to be more accepting. That is my dream.”

“Inside and out, there are no limits,” up-and-coming model Sofia added, speaking to People in February 2020 after an extraordinary experience at NYFW. “Everyone can accomplish their dreams.”


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Written by The Baron

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