Gymnast With Down Syndrome Becomes Successful Model, Paving The Way For Others Like Her
Published in Jan 2020 / Updated in Apr 2021
We were all born for a reason, with unique gifts that set us apart from the rest of the world. And Chelsea Werner from Danville, California knows it best: she’s changing the world by simply being herself.
While growing up, Chelsea learned the ins and outs of being unique as she has Down syndrome, a chromosomal defect that delays intellectual and physiological development.
When she was four, her parents enrolled her at a gymnastic school to strengthen her muscles. Yet, she actually exhibited impressive gymnastic skills that helped her win four Olympic championships in gymnastics later in her life.
Recently, WeSpeak, an international fashion agency that encourages self-acceptance and people to love who they are, recruited Chelsea as a model.
Chelsea hopes to be the voice
Chelsea believes people with Down syndrome are under-represented in various areas, including the world of fashion. In an email statement to A Plus, she said:
“I don’t think people with Down syndrome are represented enough. The more we are represented, the more people will see how capable we are.”
According to Chelsea, the accomplishments of individuals with Down syndrome should inspire the fashion industry.
As a female gymnastics, she won the Special Olympics US championships four times and scooped up the title of Defending World Champion twice.
“I’ve been doing gymnastics for as long as I can remember. I feel like it’s always been a part of my life. I think gymnastics has trained me to be disciplined and to work hard. In gymnastics, each new skill takes a very long time – sometimes years! I think it has given me confidence.”
Despite her success in gymnastics, she was rejected every time she applied to a fashion agency, as the modeling world didn’t accept people with Down syndrome. But Chelsea and her parents, Lisa and Ray Werner, never gave up.
Discovered by WeSpeak
WeSpeak model scouts learned about Chelsea’s passion for fashion and modeling in late 2017, and she’s been doing remarkably well in the industry ever since.
In an interview with A Plus, CEO and founder of WeSpeak, Briauna Mariah, revealed how riveted she was by Chelsea’s remarkable condition. She believes Chelsea is going to do excellently well in the fashion world.
“I saw Chelsea’s potential to thrive in this industry and immediately reached out. It’s important that women feel represented in the industry.”
“Chelsea takes feedback really well and is a quick learner. Right now, we’re building her experience in front of the camera, building her portfolio and brand. Soon I believe the industry will be just as captivated by Chelsea’s beauty as I am. I see her going far.”
Chelsea insists that modeling is a way to ‘show the world that we are all beautiful in our own way.’ She maintains that her photos convey that ‘all people have dreams and everyone needs to be given the opportunities to reach them!’