Enya, a dancer from the Netherlands, was encouraged into modeling by her sister, Céline, who noticed deficient representation of people with disabilities in fashion and beauty. Enya loved the idea of making a difference.
The sisters then started an Instagram page together, @downsyndrome_queen, managed by Céline.
Glamour met Enya when they collaborated on a beauty tutorial in January.
Glamour’s editor-in-chief, Anke de Jong, said in a statement that she watched the footage “slumped in front of ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ with a bag of mini-KitKats,” and Enya stole her heart. Featuring Enya on Glamour’s May issue cover was “an ode to one of the fastest-growing models and influencers on Instagram,” she said. The team shopped for clothes in Enya’s style and ran a series of photo shoots.
Sharing the winning cover shot on her Instagram page, Enya exclaimed, “I must be dreaming! I cannot describe in words how much this means to me.”
Not only was it Enya’s first cover, but it was the first major cover in the Netherlands to feature a person with Down syndrome.
“Thank you Glamour for this opportunity, believing in me, and contributing to a more diverse/inclusive world,” Enya said, signing off by sharing her hope that the cover will open doors for other brands to follow Glamour’s lead.
“We all can make the change, we all have to contribute,” she said.
The year 2020 was a tough period for advocacy. In February, Elle magazine interviewed Enya about what had helped get her through the lockdown.
Having launched @downsyndrome_queen in 2019, Enya and her sister turned social media into their most major lockdown hobby.
Enya also had to maintain her dance regime; while performances were canceled owing to the pandemic, Enya’s personal routine was not so forgiving.
Speaking to Vogue on World Down Syndrome Day, Enya said she feels she has been pigeonholed by the outside world since birth.
“Of course, you have people who look at you and treat you differently, but on the other hand, it has also brought a lot of good things and people,” she told Vogue.
Now Enya uses social media to inspire others to think outside the box.
“I want to show them that I have a nice life, that I can do (almost) everything, and that I have a future with dreams,” she said.
Today, Enya and Céline’s Instagram page has almost 75,000 followers.
Major brands are getting behind the trailblazing model; Enya has already worked with Chanel, Dior, and Charlotte Tilbury through social media.
Her dream is to encourage yet more brands to strive for inclusivity, proving that beauty is diverse and cover space is for models that break the mold.