More than a month ago, my friend and Kumare, Claire Saycon, asked me if I would be willing to participate in a fashion show for SM Fashion with Gellibean.
I was more than elated to be asked to participate in such an endeavor and to include Gelli in a fashion show for everyone to see just how beautiful and charming she is.
Keep in mind, I know how the fashion industry works. While I have dabbled a bit in some commercial modeling, I know and understand what pushes this industry.
But we also know that beauty can be defined in many ways, right?
I have been blessed to know and understand beauty in a way very different than mainstream media and advertising. After Gelli’s birth I have met so many beautiful kids and adults that I would not have met, had it not been for Trisomy 21.
FLASHBACK: Imagine my disappointment when I approached one of the well known children’s clothing brands, here in Manila (more than a year ago) with a pitch for a campaign that I hold near and dear to my heart.
“CHANGING THE FACE OF BEAUTY IS A NONPROFIT CORPORATION THAT IS
COMMITTED TO EQUAL REPRESENTATION OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
IN ADVERTISING AND MEDIA WORLDWIDE.”
Imagine also the sadness I felt in my heart when I was told through a friend by the head of marketing from said children’s apparel company that including a little girl like Gelli wouldn’t be good for the brand.
But I digress.
SM Stores thought it would be a GREAT IDEA to include Gelli in their #STYLEUPSMMAKATI summer fashion show because they DO SEE the beauty in having a little girl with her vibrant energy walk the runway.
Imagine yet again, how full my heart was to know that Gelli would be side by side with typical kids showcasing the fun and colorful fashion choices that SM Stores have to offer for children of all abilities.
I was able to invite some of my dearest friends, and of course our family who love and support us to be there to cheer my little girl on, as we strutted the catwalk together.
HOLD ON JUST A MINUTE!!!
IN CASE YOU WEREN’T PAYING ATTENTION?!?!
THIS IS HUGE.
SO VERY HUGE, AND SO VERY FULFILLING.
All of the love and support we have from family and friends near and far have made it easier for me to be bold and brave in putting my daughter out there for everyone to get to know and love.
Even during our practice run with the other models, Gellibean was ready for the stage! I explained every step of the way what we needed to do next, so that she wouldn’t be surprised or afraid of this completely new experience for her.
Because of my own experience, I knew that I had to be sure to keep Gelli happy while we were backstage preparing for the show. I asked her yaya to pack her favorite toys and snacks to keep her occupied while we were hanging out.
This was a key component in our experience for Gelli’s first (Yes, I’m being bold and saying FIRST, because I’m hoping they will ask us again.) modeling gig.
With nearly 50 models, stylists, assistants, companions and key brand people behind stage, we could have had a melt down. A little bit of preparation was all we needed, to make sure that it was a fun experience for all.
In fact, because we prepared so well, we even had the other children who were also participating in the show, coming and hanging out with Gelli and Rocco as well.
Some of the foreign models took to Gelli quite strongly.
I was so happy to see Gelli entertained.
Being loved on…
And being accepted for the beautiful little girl that she is…
#STYLEUPSMMakati kicked off this summer fashion show on March 15th, and for our family, it was a day that we will remember forever.
Gelli had her hair and make-up done.
The stage was set.
The music was chosen.
And my daughter was the first little girl with Down Syndrome to represent SM Stores in their biggest fashion show to date.
The fashion show was attended by celebrities and people in the industry who all saw the beauty in my little girl…
And even if she got a little shocked with just how loud the music was…she warmed up and rocked it out, like the rockstar that she is!
Thank you SM Stores for giving us the opportunity and for #ChangingTheFaceOfBeauty.
You know what else I realized through this whole event?
That I really like some of the styles that SM Fashion now has! I’ve been visiting SM for years…but for so many different reasons (They have it all, after all!) other than buying cute tops and outfits for the kids. I found myself looking up at some of the models, and thinking, “Hey! I would wear that! That’s super cute!”
I think it’s time for a little summer shopping with the kiddos!