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Benefit Cosmetics' move to feature model with Down syndrome as ambassador gets a big thumbs up

January 17, 2019

Just 20 years old, Kate Grant is the face of international cosmetic brand Benefit Cosmetics' latest eyeliner. Fans are loving her look, and a large part for that lies in the fact that Kate has Down syndrome.

Everyone is talking about Benefit's new Roller Liner Eyeliner on social media. As one fan wrote on Instagram, "As the mum of a child with Down syndrome, I can't tell you how much it means to us that you have featured this beautiful girl. Thank you so very much for your awesome gesture of inclusiveness, hope to see more of Kate."

Others too have posted remarks commenting on the Kate's beauty and the amazing gesture of inclusion on the part of Benefit.

Responses that give Yojana Wavikar, mother to Kimaya with Down syndrome, hope that more people will eventually realize the true definition of beauty.

As a parent of a child with Down syndrome and a special educator, all we want is acceptance and recognition of our children. They too have their own strengths and talents, and it's time they got opportunities to showcase them. - Yojana Wavikar, Parent

Young Kimaya has had some exposure to the glamour world too as one of the six disabled girls chosen by Paris-based fashion photographer Sanjyot Telang for the project Fashion Misfits.

Through the project Telang aimed to capture the hidden beauty of people with disabilities and show it to the world. "It boosted their confidence, self- esteem and they all FELT beautiful! Sanjyot's camera captured their stunning beauty," recalls Wavikar.

Fashion Misfits was also displayed in the National Library of France in Paris for three months.

Moves like these, believes Reena Verma, will help build awareness and create inspiration. Verma's daughter, Aditi is the well-known restaurateur with Down syndrome, who runs Aditi's Corner in Navi Mumbai.

"I am thankful to brands like Benefit because they are helping to build awareness. By bringing people with disabilities into the limelight, they are not only making them more confident but also showing the world that a difference in ability is to be celebrated."

Will this spark off similar moves by the beauty and fashion industry here in India? Chennai-based mom Sandhya Krishnamurthy has her fingers crossed. Her daughter Arti is already a star, having won many state and national-level para swimming events.

'It is certainly a positive step that they are finding beauty in people with intellectual disabilities," says Krishnamurthy. "My daughter has Down syndrome and we don't see people like her in the mainstream media. I feel such people can achieve perfection better than everyone else."

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