Vogue model: ‘Doctors said I wouldn’t walk, now I’m pursuing my dreams’

Trailblazer model Ellie Goldstein has spoken of her desire to inspire others with Down’s syndrome to pursue their “hopes and dreams”.

At Ellie’s birth, doctors told her parents that she would never walk and talk, but now Ellie has a successful career and last year became the first person with Down’s to appear on the cover of Vogue magazine.

Ellie says she is “proving people wrong” and believes her success makes her “a role model for people like me”.

‘Ellie first’

Despite the gloomy prognosis, Ellie’s mum Yvonne told the BBC that her daughter “could walk by 18 months, was speaking by her third birthday and was able to read by the time she started school”.

At an early stage, Yvonne explained, she and her husband decided “to bring her up as Ellie first and put the fact that she has got Down’s syndrome to one side”.

Nervous about breaking the news to Ellie that she had Down’s syndrome as a teenager, Yvonne said: “I was worried it would knock her confidence, but it didn’t.”

Overcoming social attitudes

Telling her story, Ellie said: “I always wanted to be a model but I didn’t see anyone who looked like me on magazine covers so I wasn’t sure if I could do it but now I am living my dream.”

Still only in her final year at performing arts college, Ellie has already published a book about her life and has been busy filming for a Channel 4 documentary.

Yvonne hopes “attitudes towards Down’s syndrome have changed since Ellie was born”, but believes “there is still a lot of ignorance”.

“Often in the street, people ask me questions about Ellie and don’t address her. They don’t realise she can talk and how big a personality she has.”


In her book, I’m just Heidi! Living to the Full with Down’s Syndrome, disability campaigner and friend of The Christian Institute Heidi Crowter writes of her own happy and fulfilled life.

Heidi – whose husband James also has Down’s syndrome – is calling on the UK Government to end discrimination against babies in the womb who have the chromosomal condition.

Under Britain’s current legislation, abortion is permitted up to 24 weeks for most reasons but is available up to birth for children deemed to have a disability – including Down’s syndrome.

Also see:

Downs girl

First Down’s syndrome uni graduate for Australia

Line of Duty actor’s mum shares fears for Down’s syndrome elimination

New CBBC presenter aims to dispel myths surrounding Down’s syndrome