Girl with Down’s syndrome from Tyrone snapped up by modelling agency after Facebook pictures shared 19,000 times

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A teenager with Down’s Syndrome from Cookstown is hoping to become a rising star in the world of modelling after a social media campaign launched her onto the catwalk of Belfast’s biggest fashion event.

Kate Grant hit the spotlight after her mother Deirdre posted pictures of her on Facebook and explained her daughter’s burning desire to strut her stuff on the catwalk.

Deirdre, who is originally from Lurgan, said she wanted to challenge perceptions of beauty and shine a light on discrimination faced by those with a disability.

“She has the same aspirations as any other girl who wants to be a model,” she wrote. “Please support her. Just maybe her dream will come true.”

Within a few days, the Facebook post had garnered an incredible 18,000 likes and 19,000 shares.

More than three thousand people posted comments encouraging Kate and praising her for her beauty and determination.

“I want everyone to get behind me and challenge local women to have Kate, who dreams to be a model, as a front cover”, said her mother. “Every door was closed in her face because she has Down’s Syndrome.”

Down’s Syndrome, as well as other disabilities, are largely absent from the beauty and fashion industries, but Kate is determined to change that.

The nineteen-year-old, who has been inspired by the Australian model, Madeline Stewart, said: “I want to be everywhere, all over the world, because I am brilliant. I want everyone to see me and I’ll hold my head high.”

After being inundated with social media shares, modelling agent Cathy Martin offered Kate a place on the catwalk at Belfast Fashion Week.

Mrs Martin, who founded Belfast Fashion Week, said she had been moved by Mrs Grant’s Facebook post.

“It’s amazing how passionate she is about modelling”, she said. “Fashion Week starts on 26 October and we will have Kate taking part on 27 October in our high street show.”

The modelling agent said that Kate is destined to get the biggest cheer when she walks out onto the catwalk at the show.