If you watch someone achieve, you usually only see the good things that happen to them. No one thinks about how much effort it will take to get there. They, along with those who have supported them through thick and thin, know what it is like to genuinely fight for something. Because we still live in a society with high beauty standards, this is even more true for people with impairments.
We felt compelled to share the inspiring story of a Venezuelan model with Down syndrome who inspires others.
Jessica Jacinto is a Venezuelan woman of 22 years old living in Valencia. She pursued her dreams despite having Down syndrome. One of them was becoming a professional model, which she achieved after years of preparation, hard work, and a strong desire to be a true catwalk star.
“I enjoy snapping pictures and walking down the runway.” Many people admire Jessica’s attitude and stage presence, which allows her to select her own aesthetics and attractiveness. With her mother’s unfailing support and advice, her desire has led to the beginning of an exciting new chapter in her life.
Jessica was already involved in sports like gymnastics, swimming, and athletics when she entered high school at the age of 14, but she didn’t enjoy them. Yanira, Jessica’s mother, was invited to a Down syndrome beauty pageant, which they accepted just to try something new. “I saw her having a good time doing nothing while I wasted my time.” I realized this wasn’t my world when I watched her walk down the runway.”
Jessica realized she had taken the wrong path and that the world of fashion was what she really loved when she saw her so happy and unfettered.
For me, modeling is similar to studying a career that you love and are genuinely passionate about, and it requires dedication and ingenuity to develop yourself, even if you do not believe it.” The moment I enter the catwalk, I transform into someone else. It’s almost as if someone else appeared from within me. “I’m feeling good.”
In the past, she has taken part in a few castings, but never in a modeling competition. Her mother encouraged her to take up these hobbies. She would search Instagram for opportunities for her daughter.
Jessica has since been approached by local designers and company owners to model for them. All of them have praised her positive qualities. Her charisma and magnetism have helped her carve out a niche for herself on Venezuela’s catwalks.
Working together, they overcame difficulties. “Venezuela still has a long way to go in terms of inclusivity,” says her mother. I have tried to get her into a few major modeling agencies to help her become noticed, but they never call, and other firms are the same.”
But neither Jessica nor her mother have been able to keep their spirits down for very long. They’ve been through thick and thin together. Her mother also manages her social media profiles. “As much as I want her to succeed, I can’t get enough of it, and I’m confident she will.”
Jessica is a Venezuelan Red Cross member and participated in a Carabobo-Valencia branch effort called “We are different, but not inferior.”.
As a Red Cross member, I had a beautiful and educational experience, and I am proud of it.” The program showed me that I could achieve anything I set my mind to and participate in a wide variety of activities. I have decided to enroll in a dancing and skating program because of this.”
Because of the effort, I was able to participate in many events with kids with Down syndrome for the first time, since I was previously included with typical kids.”
“As a mother, you are proud of your daughter for achieving her goals,” she added. Her day is typical: she goes to school, participates in extracurricular activities, and we don’t make a big deal about her modeling at home. Our down-to-earth outlook on life hasn’t changed; in fact, many parents of children suffering from this illness have sought out our help.”
“As a mother, I encourage other parents to:
- If things go wrong, don’t get discouraged, and don’t be afraid to try new things.
Instead of focusing on your own dreams as a parent, consider your child’s.
- If you don’t see immediate results, don’t get discouraged.
Rather than trying to change your child into someone they are not, let them be who they are.
- Work hard for them. It will not be easy, but it will not be impossible.
Do not compare yourself to others; the key to success is to treat your children organically.”
After at least ten years of dedication and hard work, Jessica can also see her parents’ pride in the enormous effort they have made together. My parents see how hard I work and how disciplined I am every day, and they are delighted and proud of me. And they see that I’m happy, which is exactly what they want.”