Iowa-based Katie is the new face of Beauty & Pin-Ups, and her image appears on the packaging of the hair mask she’s representing, the Fearless Hair Rescue Treatment.
“Katie is a role model for people of all ages, disability or no disability, because beauty belongs to everyone,” the brand wrote on its Facebook page.
Beauty & Pin-Ups CEO Kenny Kahn told People he met Katie though Best Buddies International, an organisation that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing opportunities for socialisation and employment.
Katie is an ambassador for Best Buddies International; when you purchase any Beauty & Pin-Ups product, a portion of the proceeds go to the group.
“So as we were launching this product, in our mind it could have been the next traditional pin-up — but as soon as we came up with the name “Fearless” it was really easy, we were like, ‘Well Katie’s fearless,’” says Kenny.
Katie is understandably thrilled to have her modelling dreams come true.
“It’s pretty cool because I love being a part of the Beauty & Pin-ups family, and I love being a part of Best Buddies and interacting with people,” Katie says to PeopleStyle about her partnership with the brand.
“I’m really excited to be on the packaging of the new treatment,” she shares. “I love all the products – I’ve tried Fearless and I love it because it makes my hair soft.”
Although Jennifer Lopez is her style icon today, Katie says it was her family who sparked her interest in the fashion and beauty world.
“My sisters actually taught me how to fix my hair and make a bun,” she shares. “They have taught me so much about beauty and fashion and I learn from them about makeup, shoes, jewellery, etcetera. I love them and they inspire me to look really good.”
And her beauty mantra is simple: “Makeup makes me feel good about myself,” she says. “Every day is a great day to feel good about yourself. Feeling good makes you look good – that’s my motto.”
“People see me for who I am and they see me not as someone with a disability, but that I have ability,” she shares. “And I like to try new different things and I inspire women to do that. Beauty belongs to everybody.”
Australia’s Madeline Stuart, below, is another inspiring young woman opening doors for Down syndrome models.
Just a few weeks ago she became the first to walk the catwalk at New York Fashion Week and has a slew of shoots under her belt already.