A beachwear company in Florida has hired a teenager with down syndrome to be the new face of its brand.
Surf Style, a beachwear company has recently posted a blog update that shares the wonderful news that a new model will be joining them.
Ethan Holt is a 16-year-old athlete who has down syndrome and was chosen because of his amazing charisma skills and his aspirations to make it as a model.
Surf Style met Ethan through Help Us Gather (HUG), which is a non-profit organisation that advocates for the inclusion of people with disabilities.
The beachwear company wrote: “We jumped on the opportunity to include Ethan in our marketing, not only because of his incredible charismatic personality and love of the camera but also to set an example of inclusion.”
On the day of the shoot, Ethan and the crew went to the Surf Style’s flagship store in Clearwater Beach, where Ethan modelled a variety of the company’s colourful range of surfwear.
They filmed a video which shows Ethan working the camera, beaming and flashing his charming smile throughout each shot.
The beachwear company felt that Ethan was the perfect representation for the brand, as he possessed a love for water sports and participated in many sports at high school. This included swimming and the Florida Division of the Special Olympics, where he is also a member of the paddleboard team.
The active teen has earnt several gold medals on both regional and state levels. Therefore making himself an accurate fit for the brand’s look.
Ethan’s mother, Phoy Holt said: “Anytime he gets to compete, whether it’s paddleboard or swimming, he always gets gold.”
Besides water sports, Ethan also has a passion for soccer, baseball and wrestling.
Robin Lally, the founder of HUG, stated: “He’s definitely that active guy that you would expect to be representing the brand.”
With his great people skills and cheery personality, he has always enjoyed being a performer. In the future, Ethan aspires to have his own YouTube channel where he can show off his singing, dancing and rapping! Ethan would love to become a social media influencer so that he can inspire others.
Through the organisation HUG, Ethan’s potential was spotted for modelling as he was excited to do anything. When HUG had its first photoshoot, Ethan was told he could wear anything he wanted to – so he turned up in a three-piece suit.
In every shot, Ethan looked fantastic. That’s when Robin realised how special Ethan truly was.
“He studies it, you know, he practices. So that’s when I realised if he’s willing to do the work, and he gets it, then he’s good at it. So we thought we could make a career out of it. Models know how to move, and he brings his personality with it,” said Robin.
The public’s response to Surf Style choosing Ethan as their brand representative has been “incredibly positive”, with many feeling inspired by his story.
Phoy said: “He’s a big influence and example for all the little guys that also have down syndrome, and they see what he can do and [are] very proud of that.”
Many local media stations, people in social media and the special needs community have praised Ethan, giving him recognition.
“My friends on the swim team and a couple of girls, even my coach knows, say I am a famous model now,” said Ethan.
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Aimee is a Media & Communications graduate from Birmingham City University with a passion for everything related to cats, milkshakes and Oreo-flavoured consumables. You will often find Aimee typing furiously equipped with a Greggs’ sausage roll and a gingerbread man.