Wearing a frilly, pink dress, the Stillwater, Minnesota toddler posed for the ad while playing with a $49 activity cube. She was chosen after Target reached out to the online support group Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network (which Izzy’s mom oversees), seeking children to feature in its advertisements. The shoot took place in September, however the ad ran this past Sunday. During the shoot, Izzy was a total pro, sitting patiently while getting her hair and makeup done. “Whenever she sees the ad, either on television or in print, she smiles, points to herself, and says, ‘Izzy,’” mother Heather Bradley, 39, tells Yahoo Parenting. “Her photo is also on the wall of our local Target, so she likes that too.”
Photo by CBS
Support for Izzy’s campaign has been overwhelmingly positive on social media. “Props to Target for making models w/down syndrome a normal part of their ad campaigns,” tweeted @ChipReese. “Shout-out to @Target for being leader in inclusive marketing,” wrote @DavidJFalcone. And: “I will do the rest of my shopping at Target,” from @lovemyfireman19.
Yahoo Parenting could not reach a representative at Target for comment. Over the past few years, the fashion industry has expanded its notion of beauty by becoming more inclusive. Back in 2012, a blond-haired, blue-eyed 6-year-old boy named Ryan who had Down syndrome, starred in a Target clothing ad (only a few months prior, Ryan had also modeled in a Nordstom’s campaign). And in 2013, the clothing company Wet Seal hired Karrie Brown, a 17-year-old with Down syndrome, after the Collinsville, IL teen and her mother launched a Facebook campaign.
Although Izzy’s mother is happy for her daughter (so are Izzy’s sisters, age 5 and 7 who tell all their friends at school about their little sibling’s newfound fame), she insists that children with Down syndrome and other disabilities should be represented regularly in the media and that the notion should not be newsworthy. “I want families who are new on a journey with a disabled child to see kids like Izzy and feel hopeful,” she says.