Francesca Rausi made everyone smile as she strutted down a catwalk in Malta last month. One day, she hopes to become a professional model.
Four-year-old Francesca Rausi, who has Down Syndrome, made everyone smile when she strutted her stuff down the runway at a fashion held earlier last month in her home country, Malta. The show was organized in honor of models with disabilities. The young girl walked the ramp alongside over 20 other models, all aged between four and 24 years old, PEOPLE reports. Francesca waltzed down the runway and emanated absolute joy, but she wasn't the only one gleaming with happiness. All those in the audience, too, were flashing their widest grins as they saw little Francesca walk down the ramp.
However, this definitely wasn't her first runway rodeo. According to her mother Michelle Rausi, her daughter has been modeling for a while now. In an interview with Metro UK, she revealed, "Francesca has been modeling since she was very young. She loves it and was the first toddler in Malta to take part in a modeling competition and won junior top model." Full of joy and talented, too! Her latest fashion show was her fifth time on the runway. Now, she feels "very comfortable on the catwalk." Next week, she will be competing in Malta’s Junior Miss Christmas and everyone's got their fingers crossed for their favorite model to win.
Of course, like any other mom, Michelle is incredibly proud and happy for her little girl. "I feel very emotional watching her because I see the happiness in her eyes," she stated. "It's out of this world." We can only imagine the feeling. At four years old, Francesca has accomplished what many young girls dream of — all by simply being herself, without conforming to society's narrow standards of beauty. She's also slowly becoming a pioneer for the inclusion of disabled folk in the highly competitive and elitist fashion industry.
That's why her latest fashion show in Malta is so important. It was established last year by charity organizer Tiziana Randisi, who felt it was finally time to make inclusion in fashion a top priority. Through her show, she hopes to create inclusion between people with different disabilities. She said, "Our goal is to create a real inclusion, trying to involve all the different disabilities by breaking down the mental barriers of those who see disability as a limit. Instead, we see it as a resource and a wealth to share." And she couldn't be more correct. When diverse folks of all backgrounds are included, our world becomes a brighter, more colorful place.
According to mother Michelle, Francesca hopes to become a professional model and activist for those with Down syndrome one day, just like Madeline Stuart, who the four-year-old got to share the runway with last month. Madeline, who was also diagnosed with Down syndrome, has modeled for 18 different designers, including Tommy Hilfiger at London and New York Fashion Weeks this season. With the inclusion of more and more disabled individuals, we may finally see the fashion industry evolve. It has taken far too long already.