‘Everybody has their own beauty’: Aspiring models hope to inspire more inclusive advertising

Click to play video: 'More people with disabilities are appearing in advertisements'
More people with disabilities are appearing in advertisements
WATCH ABOVE: From trendy clothing stores to hardware suppliers, more companies than ever are featuring people with disabilities in their advertising. Su-Ling Goh reports – Mar 14, 2017

Maria Jordan MacKeigan feels her two girls are equally gorgeous. Yet most models tend to look more like her oldest daughter, Ana Maria.

Her youngest has Down syndrome.

“I want my daughter, Jordan Grace, to grow up knowing that there’s people like her in advertising,” MacKeigan said.

The Edmonton mother is helping to organize Canada’s first-ever Changing the Face of Beauty photo shoot. The goal is to help aspiring models with disabilities build their portfolios for talent agents.

READ MORE: Boy with Down syndrome lands modeling contract after talent agency rejects him 

Changing the Face of Beauty is an American non-profit organization pushing for equal representation of people with disabilities in advertising and media.

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“We firmly believe that the commercial industry can change the future of people living with a disability by valuing them as consumers in their advertising,” said Katie Driscoll, president and founder.

“When you put the disability community together, globally, they’re the largest minority in the world.”

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Driscoll’s daughter, Grace, is the new face of Walgreens’ Easter collection. Her image is in more than 8,000 stores across the U.S.

Banners in Walgreens feature Driscoll’s daughter. Katie Driscoll

MacEwan University marketing professor Leo Wong says increased diversity in advertising is a reflection of the current generation. Today’s young people are fed up with Photoshop and want authentic images.

“On one hand, it’s about seeing a larger representation of society,” Wong said. “On another hand, it’s about peeling away all the polish that we… grew up seeing.”

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READ MORE: Nordstrom ads feature models with disabilities 

MacKeigan is happy to see more ad campaigns featuring atypical models, like this one for Gap.

She hopes her three-year-old grows up feeling just as worthy as anyone else.

“(Jordan Grace) glows… she’s our little sunshine.”


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