Changing the Face of Beauty
AUGUST / SEPTEMBER 2017
Maria Jordan Mackeigan of Edmonton takes us inside a very special photo shoot aimed at encouraging advertisers to showcase people of all abilities.
As I walk through a very well-known Canadian store with my precious and unique little girl Jordan Grace, I can’t help but have sadness in my heart. All I see are the same types of models showing what we all consume. Each picture has “perfect-looking” models or what we assume to be perfect.
About a year ago, I learned about Changing the Face of Beauty, a nonprofit organization that approaches the advertising world with individuals of all abilities (changingthefaceofbeauty.org).
I wanted to bring this movement to Canada, because as a mother of a precious child living the beauty of Down syndrome, I wanted her to see people not only who looked like her but also who represented the minority of people with disabilities.
It was truly important for me to help make a change, to open the eyes of Canada in the advertising world, and to show what beauty looks like through the face of a mom who is also a consumer.
I got to know a couple of very talented photographers through social media, Melissa Depape and Krista Ewert, and both un- derstood my position because they also have children with Down syndrome. I approached them and asked them if they wanted to bring this movement to Canada with me. They were all for it, and so we began the process of Changing the Face of Beauty here in Edmonton with a headshot clinic.
We had a very successful day, meeting beautiful human beings filled with so much to offer this wonderful world we live in— model after model, each bringing their own unique beauty, glowing with excitement and enthusiasm for the camera. We
were on an emotional high, and our hearts were completely full at that moment.
The location was perfect. Valerie Loseth was kind enough to lend us her space at The Wheelbarrow Gardener in St. Albert, Alta.; SPUD supplied all the healthy snacks for the entire day; Mastermind Toys donated goodie bags; Davidstea brought
Above left: Samantha Link poses for photographer Melissa Depape. Above right: Jordan Grace landed an ad campaign with DECCO Toddler Monitor as a result of this headshot clinic. enough tea for everyone to enjoy; and Stacy Jackson—a representat ive from Peekaboo Beans—spent the day fitting all the models with beautiful clothes from their spring selection.
As a result of the headshot clinic, Jordan Grace was able to land a campaign with DECCO Toddler Monitor, and recently was part of a photo shoot for Jump 360 Edmonton.
Our community of mothers of children living with Down syndrome is a strong, loving and supporting one. We weep with those who’ve lost their precious ones, we praise the little mile- stones, we laugh with the daily silliness and we love with all our hearts. Most of this community connects through social media, so a day like this when we get to hug for the first time— even though we’d known each other for years, months or days through Instagram—is a day to celebrate friendships and movements.
I advocate each day not because I want my daughter to be a supermodel but because I want her to follow her dreams, whatever they may be. I will be there to encourage her, support her and cheer her on. I truly believe in my heart that she can do all
things. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t dedicate most of my days to sharing with the world what is possible in our children. All things are possible if we believe.
I advocate because of the fear I had inside me when the doctor suggested I should terminate my pregnancy because our lives were pretty much over, because my child would end up in an institution, because she would have nothing to provide to society, because she wouldn’t even be able to feed herself. I want other moms to know that life with a loved one with Down syndrome will be okay, that it’s not the end of the world, and that in fact it’s a new beginning of a journey no one could ever imagine unless you are living in this kind of beauty.
Our lives are full and happy. We laugh every single day, and not a day goes by that Jordan Grace doesn’t show us what living life to the fullest is like. She savours each moment and she shows us true and pure joy. Her innocence and love are contagious, and it makes us think this world would be a better place if we were all like little children within.