Teen model with Down's syndrome says ‘You can do anything’

The first model with Down’s Syndrome to work at Belfast Fashion Week is hoping to inspire other young people with disabilities to follow their dreams.

Nineteen-year-old Kate Grant from Cookstown has teamed up with charity Fixers to change perceptions on disability.

“Everyone is equal,” she says.

Kate loves modelling and last October her dream came true when she took part in Belfast Fashion Week.

“It was amazing, it was a good thing for me,” she comments.

Kate’s mum Deirdre Grant says some people have a lack of knowledge of the capabilities that people with disabilities have.

“With Down's syndrome in particular, you have the facial characteristics, so people just assume that Kate isn’t capable of even answering a question,” she explained.

Kate says businesses “should open their doors for everyone” - something that Mary McCann, Operations Manager at Ulster Supported Employment & Learning, agrees with.

“Well, in general in Northern Ireland, I think we’re becoming better - we’re becoming more aware. We have some phenomenal employers who are real champions for ability,” she said.

“I’d like to see all employers really actively look to employ and recruit people with disabilities and health conditions, so that they can be reflective of who it is that’s in the labour market.

“Kate’s campaign is amazing - she has really empowered so many young people to get to where they need to be to follow their dreams and I think the work that Kate has done is just astounding and we need more people like Kate to follow in her footsteps and really trail blaze.”

Kate’s advice to young people with a disability?

“Do your own lives, do your own stuff. Just trust yourself and believe in yourself,” she added.

“Tell your parents: ‘I want to do it.’”