Having checked one item off her bucket list, the ambitious and highly talented 22-year-old now has her sights set on dominating the global fashion industry.
Editor's note: We are re-sharing some of the best moments and most important stories of 2020. Although it was a difficult year for nearly all of us, there were also shining moments of light and signs of hope. This was one of them.
On February 10, Sofía Jirau fulfilled her childhood dream of modeling in New York by rocking the ramp at the New York Fashion Week (NYFW). However, this badass fashion model is just getting started. Having checked one item off her bucket list, the ambitious and highly talented 22-year-old now has her sights set on dominating the global fashion industry. With a burning passion for modeling and an incredible drive to achieve her dreams, Jirau disproves all misconceptions about what an individual with Down Syndrome can and cannot do. She knows there are no limits to what she can achieve and won't rest until the world wakes up to see her potential.
Speaking to PEOPLE from her native Puerto Rico, Jirau said, "When I was little, I looked myself in the mirror and said, 'I'm going to be a model and a businesswoman.'" At just 22 years of age, she has already achieved both goals. One look at her Instagram profile is bound to make your jaw drop on the floor as the account's glam modeling shots, stunning photoshoots, and runway looks scream all things fashion. It's no wonder she has over 44.6k followers.
Jirau's NYFW debut last week left the fashion big shots at designer Marisa Santiago's show impressed as she showed off her impeccable modeling skills. Sharing stunning shots from her fashion week runway moment on Instagram, she wrote: I was born for this and I want to show the world that I have everything a model needs to shine. Her loving family made sure to fly all the way from Puerto Rico to support Jirau during her big moment on the runway, making the day all the more special and memorable for the aspiring model.
"I felt really good the first time. Everyone clapped for me," Jirau said, speaking of the powerful moment she modeled in front of her family for the very first time. Recognizing her drive and talent, a team of volunteers has devoted their time to help her accomplish her goals and work out the logistics behind her fashion and photoshoots. They've got their work cut out for them as Jirau now plans to travel to Europe and show off her modeling skills at the highly sought out runways there. "I’m going to Europe later. And to the rest of the world," she said confidently.
Armando Lorenzo, one of the volunteers who work with Jirau, revealed that they're already working towards helping her achieve her new goal. "We’re trying to connect her with designers over there. If that’s her goal, it’s our challenge. We’re working hard to take her there if that’s what she wants," said Lorenzo. While her modeling career takes off, Jirau is also focusing her time and energy on her dream of becoming a successful businesswoman with her own clothing line named Alavett. The brand's name has an adorable story behind it, as it came from how Jirau spells out her favorite words to say: "I love it."
Alavett is Jirau's "shout of joy," she says, revealing that she sells everything from shirts and wallets to mugs and phone cases with the signature brand name and heart doodle. While she is an inspiration for many, Jirau looks up to none other than the magnificent Jennifer Lopez and hopes to meet the celeb one day. "I want to meet Jennifer Lopez. I like how she dresses and how she is. I love all of her clothes. I love her songs, her CDs, her photos. Everything," she said. With infinite opportunities ahead of her, this aspiring model is determined not to let anything get in the way of her modeling goals. "Inside and out, there are no limits. There aren’t. Everyone can accomplish their dreams," she said.