Gymnast Chelsea Werner hails from Danville, California. She has Down syndrome, but you wouldn’t know it from her résumé: she has amassed an incredible list of achievements.
Chelsea took part in, and has won, the Special Olympics United States National Championship four times. She has also won the World Championship twice. Gymnastics was originally recommended to Chelsea by her physicians as a 4-year-old-child, because Down syndrome (which affects 1 in 700 babies) can cause an under-development of muscles in the body. Nobody knew just how far the graceful hobby would take her.
And Chelsea now has another achievement to add to her list: modeling.
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Chelsea’s interest in the beauty industry was self-generated. As a tenacious and accomplished young woman, she felt justified in striving for visibility in an industry that has traditionally been hostile to difference. It may come as no surprise that she was initially turned down: there was “no market” for models with Down syndrome.
“The more we are represented, the more people will see how capable we are,” Chelsea asserted, in an email to Aplus.com.
Determined Chelsea, along with her unyieldingly supportive family, persevered.
So excited to sign with We Speak Modeling Agency New York! Just had my first photo shoot! Here is some behind the scenes 💗😊💗
Before long, We Speak noticed Chelsea through social media. We Speak is an agency that promotes body positivity; the perfect angle for Chelsea, who wanted to celebrate her own difference and increase visibility for other people out there whose confidence and self-perception may need boosting.
We Speak founder Briauna Mariah discovered Chelsea through a viral video. She immediately warmed to the effervescent young woman, and saw her potential.
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Just take a look at Chelsea’s stunning photos. Not only is she a natural when it comes to modeling, but the industry’s interest is piqued. Chelsea holds herself with grace and dignity in front of the camera.
She’s a role model for people with Down syndrome the world over, especially young girls with grand ambitions, and even differently affected people who will nonetheless share similar feelings to Chelsea.
Photo shoot with the amazing @jasonconrad1 hair and makeup @yukieamorrie #athleta #powerofshe
Chelsea is the voice (and now the face) of representation for diversity in beauty. Nothing has stopped her. And a perceived disability shouldn’t stop anybody else, either.
We Speak’s Briauna said that Chelsea is “just wonderful.” She’s open-minded, and quick to respond to artistic direction. The agency are putting together a modeling portfolio for the young gymnast, and soon Chelsea will be back knocking on casting call doors; this time, with a portfolio, representation, and a whole lot of support behind her.
Thanks Vents Magazine for the great Article you did on me 💗https://en.calameo.com/read/00046664068fe7757e929?page=10
Chelsea starts her modeling journey alongside two other young women, also with Down syndrome: Maran Avila and Madeline Stuart. Three is a magic number. Girls, we wish you all the best!
Chelsea hopes that her journey will encourage others to “be fearless, and grab whatever they dream of.”
Looking at Chelsea’s beautiful photos, she’s certainly nothing short of aspirational.
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