Marian Avila, a 21-year-old model from Spain with Down syndrome, fulfilled her dream to walk at New York Fashion Week thanks to an Atlanta designer she met through the magic of social media.
And she did it with flair Saturday in the ballroom of a Midtown hotel in evening looks of red and gold, her parents and siblings in the audience and other models who have challenges by her side.'I felt really happy and I really loved the runway,' Avila said through a translator after the show on Saturday. 'I wanted to show the world that there are no barriers.'
No barriers for women of all kinds is Talisha White's mission, as a designer focused on prom, pageant and special occasion outfits and as an active pageant contestant as well, reports dailymail.co.uk.A model White knew had stumbled on a story about Avila's fashion week dream online. She told White of Avila's quest and they reached out to Avila on Facebook.
'She's been a busy supermodel, meeting with all types of people,' White said of the attention Avila and her dream have received in the United States, her home country and across Europe.
'I'm very glad for her. She's been meeting with Vogue. She's been meeting with Harper's Bazaar. She's been meeting in different showrooms, different modeling agencies.'Avila is from the Benidorm area, in the province of Alicante in eastern Spain on the Mediterranean coast.
She said she has dreamed of becoming a model since she was a little girl, and always wanted to walk in New York Fashion Week. 'I practice every day,' she said about modeling. 'I'm studying modeling and to become an actress.'
She walked the runway with models young and old, including Tae McKenzie, who uses a wheelchair.
McKenzie has a rare form of epilepsy that causes strokes. She told WFMY2 that she wanted to make it to New York Fashion Week to encourage other women and girls. 'There are so many people in my situation that don't believe drams are possible,' she said. 'There's nothing you can't do. Doctors may say one thing, but God is always the final say,' McKenzie added.
White showcased 43 gowns during Saturday's show. The dresses ranged in color, almost like a rainbow. The 25-year-old designer said wanted her colorful gowns to represent 'women's empowerment and beauty from the inside out'.
'I wanted to show not just one type of girl is beautiful. I like to showcase all types of girls, from pageant girls to models in wheelchairs, models with Down syndrome, models who are 4 feet and told they can never be a model. They are my "it" girl,' she explained.
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