If you've yet to hear the name Ellie Goldstein, get ready to hear it everywhere. Goldstein may only be 18 years old, but she's already made history by being the first model with Down syndrome to appear in an international beauty campaign for Gucci. Goldstein, following in the footsteps of runway models Madeline Stuart, Jamie Brewer, and Kate Grant, all of whom have Down syndrome, appeared in the Gucci Beauty campaign in June in partnership with Vogue Italia, and now she's the cover model for Allure's December digital cover.
"When I saw [my picture] on Gucci Beauty’s Instagram, I thought, Wow! Who is this? Is this me, or what?!" Goldstein told Allure. "My friends and family saw it. It felt very special to me."
Goldstein scored the campaign via Gucci Beauty and Vogue Italia's Instagram scouting initiative. With a Gucci shoot under her belt, Goldstein has been able to land modeling jobs with Glamour UK, YOU Magazine, and Mytheresa.
Goldstein is represented by Zebedee Management, founded in 2017 by sisters-in-law Laura Johnson, a social worker, and Zoe Proctor, a theater arts teacher who worked with young adults with learning disabilities. Zebedee provides an open dialogue between clients and talent and make sure all needs are met. "We have a no-silly-questions policy, whether it's regarding a fitting room or toilet," Proctor said. "It's got to be a positive experience for everyone."
Though many brands initially responded to Zebedee's talent pitches negatively ("They'd say, 'No, I don’t think we’re ready for that yet," head booker Sue Moore told Allure), more recently, as is evident in Gucci Beauty and Vogue Italia's booking of Goldstein, the tide is beginning to change.
"I never get upset or sad. I'm always happy and bright and bubbly," Goldstein continued, giggling, "And a bit cheeky." And in ten years' time, "I want to be all over the world," Goldstein said, hinting at her desire to work with Chanel and Louis Vuitton.
Though this may be the first time you've heard her name, it most definitely will not be the last. Ellie Goldstein is just getting started in her fashion and modeling career, and her impressive resume is opening doors for other aspiring models in the disability community.