When asked if she was nervous or scared, Monika said, "I wasn't nervous at all; I'm brave and beautiful."
Monika Myers is showing no signs of backing down. The 14-year-old recently walked the runways of two major fashion markets in Canada and the United States. The teen with Down syndrome made history by walking the runways of Primark New York City Fashion Week and Toronto Kids Fashion Week, becoming the first Canadian model with down syndrome, per Montreal Gazette. “It feels really great and amazing,” she said. “I really loved New York. I enjoyed all the beautiful buildings, restaurants and taxis. I enjoyed meeting so many people. And of course, the modeling was amazing.”
When asked if she was nervous or scared, said Monika. "It was crazy backstage, there were people everywhere and all around me, but it didn't bother me at all. I wasn't nervous at all; I'm brave and beautiful." She also posted on Instagram, describing her experience, “I was so honored to be the first model in Canada with Down syndrome to be in Toronto Kids Fashion Week TKFW! Thank you to all my wonderful family and friends who came to support me!💕”
Stephanie Myers, Monika's mother from Chatham, recalled the moment that she knew Monika would be interested in this career. They were watching a movie one day when Monika said, “Oh, she is beautiful,” referring to an actress. “When I asked, ‘You think so?’ she replied, ‘Mom, every woman is beautiful!’ And that was when it dawned on me and I asked her if she would like to try for modeling or acting as well,” Myers said. Monika had always been interested in fashion and beauty, and she enjoys dressing up and posing for photos, and proud mama Stephanie says she has always encouraged her to pursue whatever she likes, adding, "We've always celebrated everything she does and always appreciated her, she was never shy in front of the camera either."
It was the duo's first trip to New York together, and Monika was overjoyed. Stephanie agrees, adding that they loved exploring the city together. When Monika walked the ramp of such a prestigious event, Stephanie was so proud of her little girl. She said, "Having a daughter with Down syndrome, you don't tend to fast forward ahead, you live in the moment as you worry a lot. When I saw her doing something I never dreamed she could do, it made me so proud. I am so proud of her, and she's so proud of herself too." Monika is extremely proud of what she has achieved. "My friends couldn't believe the transformation of seeing me in such a gorgeous gown, with fake eyelashes and my hair done," she said.
Monika was influenced by numerous notable Down syndrome models, including Madeline Stuart and Ellie Goldstein, a Gucci model. Stephanie thinks it's wonderful to see the industry become more inclusive, "To see these changes happening in this industry is amazing! She's the first Canadian Down syndrome model to be in the show."
Suzy Tamsy, of SuzyQJewels, from Toronto Kids Fashion Week, believes that the fashion industry needs to work on inclusivity and body positivity in order to set an example, moving on from past stigmas to “look perfect, have super-thin body types and height requirements.” She loved Monika's performance, saying that she was spectacular on the runway. “Today we need to encourage everyone that they can achieve their dreams if they put in the work to accomplish them,” she said. “Monika is a true example of reaching for the stars, from the first time I met her in the fitting room, and (I’m) truly honored to have her wear SuzyQJewels in TKFW.” Stephanie said her daughter is savoring the experience. “I think it’s really exciting for her. Right now we’re going to take it as far as she loves it,” she said. “We don't know what the future holds, but Monika loves modeling and the world is open to her. It is wonderful to see inclusivity in the fashion industry. Monika would love to do more photoshoots and fashion shows.”
Cover Image Source: YouTube | CityNews