Ellie Goldstein is paving the way for other models with disabilities and hopes to rule the world ten years from now
Ellie Goldstein is slowly but surely changing the traditional media landscape one modeling gig at a time. 19-year-old Goldstein from Ilford, Essex, UK, has Down Syndrome, but that hasn't stopped her from getting what she wants. She made history by becoming the first model with Down Syndrome to appear in Gucci for an international beauty campaign in partnership with Vogue Italia in July this year. She is part of a new generation of models who are ready to bring representation to the fashion and beauty community. She follows in the footsteps of runway models Madeline Stuart, Jamie Brewer, and Kate Grant, who also have Down Syndrome.
According to Hello Giggles, Goldstein landed the Gucci Beauty and Vogue Italia's campaign through a scouting initiative on Instagram. Her now-viral image on Gucci's Instagram page, which has a following of 41.9 million, garnered a massive 863,446 likes propelling her to stardom. Following this, she's landed modeling jobs with Glamour UK, YOU Magazine, and Mytheresa.
PEOPLE reports that her most recent gig was for Allure where she graced the digital cover of the magazine as part of their second installment of the "The Beauty of Accessibility" series. "When I saw [my picture] on Gucci Beauty’s Instagram, I thought, Wow! Who is this? Is this me, or what?!" Goldstein told Allure. "My friends and family saw it. It felt very special to me." She is not shy and realized this early on. At 5, she started dancing and also took part in school plays. "When I was doing the play, it hit me [that I wanted to keep doing this]," she says. "I love to be seen." For her digital feature in Allure, "Goldstein was photographed with pastel blue eyeshadow for the close-up cover photo and modeled a variety of soft beauty looks throughout the spread. She donned playful clothes and accessories to match the ethereal vibe of the shoot, including a Christopher Kane dress, an oversize black bow and a pink feather boa by The Contemporary Wardrobe Collection."
At 15, her mother Yvonne heard about Zebedee Management an agency founded in 2017 by sisters-in-law Laura Johnson, a social worker, and Zoe Proctor, a theater arts teacher. The agency focuses on representing "models with disabilities and alternative appearances." Once she signed up with the agency, she was featured in a number of adverts. She told Glamor, "I went along to a shoot and I was taken onboard and my first job was with Superdrug for their Christmas campaign in 2018. I then worked for Nike for the women’s World Cup and the National Citizen Service amongst others. I am thrilled to be inspiring so many and helping Zebedee lead the Inclusion Revolution."
Goldstein's management company also told Allure how she is paving the way for other people with disabilities. They realized that they had tapped into something special thanks to her big personality, charm, and energy she creates on set. Proctor said, "She brings up everybody's energy levels to a different kind of place. It's just absolutely breathtaking and really quite moving to watch her in front of the camera." Proctor also revealed that communication is paramount when working with people with disabilities. "We talk with our models about their needs, and have a very open dialogue with our clients as well. We have a no-silly-questions policy, whether it's regarding a fitting room or toilet.… It's got to be a positive experience for everyone." Goldstein echoed similar sentiments, adding, "I never get upset or sad. I'm always happy and bright and bubbly…And a bit cheeky."
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In terms of representation and diversity in the fashion and beauty industry, she told Glamor that hopes to "continue to be a role model for other people, show others that they can get into this industry and that fashion brands use other models with disabilities. Diversity is very important." As for her future plans, she has her eyes set on Chanel and Louis Vuitton, and said that "Ten years from now, I want to be all over the world."