An Inspiring Campaign Featuring Kids of All Abilities
Written by Erin Feher
Photographed by Priscilla Gragg
Slowly but surely, the advertising industry is adjusting course and including a wider degree of diversity in its campaigns. But Katie Driscol, who founded Changing the Face of Beauty, thinks a little nudge in the right direction doesn’t hurt. Her non-profit organization advocates for brands to feature people of all abilities in their campaigns, and for a recent project, she brought together an all-star team—all of whom dedicated their time and talent—in order to create a gorgeous fashion editorial for shoe company Livie & Luca featuring a cast of incredible kids. The full editorial was styled by Mother favorite Amy Soderlind, art directed by Danielle Moore, and ran in the most recent issue of Hooligans, a high-style kiddie fashion mag.
“We work in an industry that is hyper focused on beauty and at times unrealistic ideals of perfection,” says Katie Patterson, who produced the shoot and is the founder of Lola Creative. “This project allows us to show that beauty comes in many forms, faces, and with a variety of features. The industry has come a long way but we can do more. We can make kids with disabilities feel represented and reflected in commercial advertising. We all deserve to feel included.” In order to cast the models, Katie used social media to scout fresh faces and tapped the contacts of Changing the Face of Beauty as well. One little girl, Lydia, ended up flying from the Midwest to San Francisco to participate in the photo shoot.
When photographer Priscilla Gragg was approached to participate in the project, she signed on immediately. “I grew up in Brazil and played with Barbie dolls my entire childhood—then as a teenager, I saw all the models in magazines looking just like Barbies. You internalize it—you want to be just like them,” she says. “The industry has changed since then, and I’m excited that we are starting to see different ethnicities represented, different shapes and forms…but now we need to turn our eye towards inclusion of people with disabilities. The industry is still a bit shy about it. I would love to see model agencies casting for not only kids with Down Syndrome but also kids with different types of disabilities—vision or hearing impairment, intellectual disabilities, autism, limb differences, and so on. I would love for moms and dads of kids with special needs to see this and be inspired to consider a modeling career for their child as well. My goal with our project is that it turns into a conversation starter, an eye opener, and a hope to the future of many.”
Click through the whole slideshow below to read quotes from the inspiring models (and a even a few from their amazing mothers).
For more on kids with different abilities, peep our features on mamas Elena Fong, Amanda Booth, Lauren Noel, Amy Webb, Cindy DiPrima, Gena Mann, and Kassi Basquet, check out these25 books that inspire empathy, and read this essay about how one mother helped her daughter reimagine her walker
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