Discover more from The Female Lead
First UK supermodel with Down Syndrome, Ellie Goldstein, on her inspiring story ‘Against All Odds’
Ellie, your journey from being underestimated by medical teams to becoming an internationally famous model is truly inspiring. Could you share a key moment or experience that fueled your determination to overcome challenges?
I always knew I wanted to be a famous model from really young and I was determined to prove that I could achieve this and prove the doctors wrong.
“Against All Odds” chronicles your rise to stardom. Can you give us a glimpse into the book and share how your personal experiences have shaped the message you want to convey to readers?
My book Against All Odds is the story from my birth right up to present day. It covers my school days, my college, chapters from my dance teacher and Zebedee Talent my model agency and my sister Amy. It’s an inspirational story and I hope it gives people the confidence to achieve what they want in life.
Your role as the UK ambassador for the Barbie based on a person with Down Syndrome is remarkable. How do you believe toys like these contribute to changing perceptions and promoting inclusivity from a young age?
Being UK ambassador for the Barbie with Down syndrome was fantastic I was so proud to be asked to promote her and show her to the world. It will teach children about my condition and children with Down syndrome will feel more included.
Your achievements have paved the way for greater representation and diversity in the fashion industry. What changes would you like to see in the industry to ensure lasting inclusivity and acceptance?
The fashion industry has improved but I think there is still a long way to go.
“I want to see more models with Down syndrome and disabilities being shown on TV and more inclusion with brands and beauty brands. They shouldn’t be scared!!”
Throughout your journey, your mother Yvonne has been a strong support system. Could you tell us about a valuable lesson or piece of advice she has given you that has helped shape your outlook on life and success?
My mum Yvonne has been so supportive during my modelling career. She takes me to every shoot and casting because she believes in me. My mum and dad have always been there to advise me and told me to follow my dreams and not listen to anyone who puts you down.
Mental health and self-care are important for everyone. How do you prioritize your well-being amidst your busy schedule, and what advice would you give to young individuals navigating similar challenges?
For my mental health and well-being I just relax and listen to music, watch TikTok’s or dance. All these make me feel good and very happy. I like to take good care of my skin so having a self pamper is important to me. Also, I always find time to talk to someone, a family member or friends. Share what’s in your mind and you will feel a lot better. Try not to hold in your emotions.
Female empowerment is a significant aspect of your story. What advice do you have for young girls who may be struggling to find their voices and believe in their potential?
“Believe in yourself and don’t let anyone tell you different.”
As a role model, you inspire others to pursue their dreams. What role did self-belief play in your journey, and how can individuals foster and maintain a strong sense of self-belief in their own lives?
“I always believed I could achieve want I wanted in life and I wouldn’t let anyone or anything get in the way. Be determined and the confidence will follow.”
Your work with Gucci and British Vogue has set groundbreaking precedents. What challenges did you face in achieving these milestones, and what insights can you share with aspiring individuals aiming to challenge norms?
Working with Gucci and British Vogue was such an honour. I felt so proud of myself. Both of these were dreams that came true because I believed they would happen. I didn’t have any challenges working with these brands by working with them has made the fashion industry much more inclusive and diverse which is needed and proves it can be done.
“Against All Odds” is a testament to resilience and determination. Could you highlight a pivotal moment or decision that turned the tide in your favor, opening doors to new opportunities?
Working for so many brands, becoming an author and having a statue of myself made by Adidas are all incredible! Totally unreal. I think each job I have had has opened doors to the next job.
Looking forward, what are your hopes for the future, both personally and for the broader movement towards greater inclusivity and representation in various fields?
I would love to go to America and have the opportunity to model there, it would be great and maybe work in fashion week in various countries to do presentation matters.
Ellie, as your book “Against All Odds” prepares to inspire readers worldwide, what do you believe is the most important lesson we can all learn from the book?
“The most important lesson you can learn from my book is to just be yourself. Follow your hopes and dreams and don’t give up on yourself.”
About the contributor:
Ellie Goldstein is a British model with Down’s Syndrome. In 2020, Ellie became the first model with Down's Syndrome to represent the Gucci brand. Since this time, she has worked on campaigns for Nike, Vodafone, Superdrug and many more. Ellie is also studying performing arts and continues to defy the odds in changing the face of fashion and inspiring others to do the same.
Ellie’s book Against All Odds tells of her stratospheric rise to stardom – from a baby written off by medical teams (a nurse asked her parents if they wanted to abandon her at the hospital) to life as an internationally famous model. Against All Odds is the first book in the new series curated by Katie Piper: The UnSeen. Katie’s mission is to give previously ‘unheard’ individuals a platform to tell their inspirational stories, and to empower readers to own their stories, and know that they too deserve to be seen. These are stories that ‘will inspire you never to dim your light’ – Katie Piper OBE.