For this year's holiday campaign, UK department store chain Marks & Spencers offered up a little something extra by featuring young model Seb White (who you'll find in the bottom righthand corner of the ad above) in their Christmas ad and catalog. 4-year-old Seb is just like any other child model — tiny, exuberant and cute as a button. The only thing that makes him standout from all of the campaign's dewy-faced young stars (besides his ability to work a bow tie and sweater combo) is the fact that Seb has Down syndrome.
White follows in the kid-sized footsteps of Ryan Langston, an American child model with Down syndrome who has done campaigns for Target and Nordstrom, and Valentina Guerrero, a little girl with Down syndrome who, at only 10-months, modeled baby swimwear for Dolores Cortés.
While it's easy to get cynical and claim that brands like Target and Marks & Spencers only used these kids to generate positive publicity for themselves, it's important to note how seamlessly models like Seb and Ryan have been incorporated into the campaigns. These kids' presence in something as ubiquitous as a catalog or ad campaign while, yes, benefitting the brand, probably benefits other children in similar situations — children used to seeing themselves entirely left out of depictions of the mainstream and what is considered "normal" — all the more.
See Seb's ad and a behind-the-scenes video from his shoot below!