UTV digital series Voices gives a platform to those with a story to tell and this month features contributors who could have been held back from achieving their full potential.
Each of them has, in one way or another, been told: “You can’t do that.”
And each of them has resoundingly replied: “Oh yes, I can.”
Stylish Kate Grant, from Cookstown in Co Tyrone, loves make-up and fashion, boasts a glowing complexion and enviable blonde locks, and always dreamed of being a model.
She also just happens to have Down’s syndrome.
All too often, those who are “different” are perceived as having limitations and it may be suggested, or indeed explicitly stated, that they should manage their expectations accordingly – not set their sights too high, in other words.
While constantly being told not to follow their ambitions could understandably be discouraging, Kate is made of sterner stuff.
She has already achieved much more than some would have ever said she could.
I come alive on the catwalks and I’m very, very determined.
“I love the lights, I love the cameras, I love the crowds …” Kate said.
“I’m a very powerful lady and I go with a big bang – I never give up.”
As a successful model, Kate has already walked the catwalk at Belfast Fashion Week, been crowned champion in the Teen Ultimate Beauty Of The World pageant in 2018, appeared on ITV’s This Morning, and been appointed an ambassador for top beauty brand Benefit.
She has even been honoured with a British Empire Medal from the Queen.
“People who can’t have a voice, I have a voice for them,” Kate says.
“I raise awareness of inclusion for people with special needs or disabilities. We never give up – we’re going to keep fighting.”
Despite her many achievements to date, ambitious Kate has no intention of stopping there.
Having already garnered support from celebrity followers on Instagram, like former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, Kate dreams of walking the catwalk with the likes of Gigi and Bella Hadid.
“Don’t give up – follow your dreams,” she advises.
“You have to work hard, for you and yourself.”
PS: Kate turned 21 just after filming with us - happy birthday, Kate!
The series previously heard from Ben Mudge, a Thor-like personal trainer with cystic fibrosis, and will continue next week with Joe Boyd, who was born with cerebral palsy, but made his dreams of becoming a journalist and author come true.
UTV VOICES: Previous Instalments