#Fearless! Model with Down Syndrome Shuts Down Stereotypes and Lands Her Own Beauty Campaign

Katie Meade is proving that having a disability doesn’t have to hold you back from going after what you want!

Hailing from Iowa, Katie has Down syndrome and was also born with a heart defect, but still made history, landing her own beauty campaign! She was chosen as the face of a hair care brand, Beauty & Pin-Ups, and now appears on the packaging for the company’s new hair mask product. “It was amazing,” she said of her photo shoot experience to TODAY. “It was fun trying on clothes and getting ready for the photos. I felt so special! It was really cool to feel like a true model.”

In the campaign, Katie truly shines as she rocks a black t-shirt that simply says “Fearless,” which sums her up as a person. Overcoming health issues and bullying throughout her 32 years of life, this woman keeps pushing through any obstacle that comes her way. Shattering stereotypes and beauty standards, she is the first person with Down syndrome to be featured in a beauty campaign! 

And that’s not the only achievement she’s made! In addition to this campaign, Katie is also a former Special Olympics gold medalist, having competed in several sports including basketball and gymnastics.  “She is just an incredible person,” said Kenny Kahn, CEO of Beauty & Pin-Ups, which he described as a line of hair products that’s all about “paying homage to the pin-up, with a retro twist.”

Beauty & Pin-Ups have a partnership with Best Buddies International, a nonprofit which helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities meet new people and find employment. Katie herself serves as an ambassador for the brand, and that’s she was able to connect with Kenny and the beauty brand. So when the time came to pick a face for the new product, Katie immediately came to mind. .”She is a very special person and it comes across in her photos,” Kenny praised. “She represents not just hope; she represents reality.”

“They make me feel welcome and loved,” Katie said of the brand’s employees. “They have given me opportunities to show the world that people with disabilities like beauty and fashion, and like to look good like everyone else.”

Definitely very awesome to see this young woman killing it with this campaign! Watch Katie talk about her great opportunity below!