Sofía Jirau is Victoria’s Secret first model with Down syndrome

Originally published at: Sofía Jirau is Victoria's Secret first model with Down syndrome | Boing Boing


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Good for her, though isn’t Victoria’s Secret a hive of scum and villainy when it comes to their treatment of models?


Exactly my thought. I wish we could just applaud the progress, but it just feels like progressive exploitation. YMMV.


Yeah, I’m not sure if I should be cheering this. “It’s great that Victoria’s Secret exploits neurodiverse people!”


I know that was the case, though I remember reading something a while ago about how their negative image was hurting market share, so they are changing who they have model for them. I don’t know if they are treating anyone better though.


I know this will show my ignorance about Downs Syndrome and I’m basing this on my limited experience with the subject but…

I’ve known two people with Downs Syndrome for quite some time one young man is in his 40s and the young woman we know is in her 20s. They are both wonderful people but I don’t think either person is able to enter into any sort of contract.

So my question is, would this woman be able to enter into a modeling contract on her own? If not, wouldn’t her guardian be exploiting her without her understanding?

If she is able to make informed decisions and consent to things like entering into a modeling contract then awesome and clearly I need to do more homework on the subject.

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I worked for Victoria’s Secret. They were not a good employer, given, I wasn’t a model. Now I am scary good at folding undies and steaming satin teddies.

Maybe I should not still be referencing this?

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Short answer is that it varies and it is possible that she might be independent enough to manage standard employment mostly on her own.


Trisomy 21 comes in a few forms, with variable intellectual compromise. In the classic form, there is a problem in meiosis where either the sperm or egg has a pair of 21’s, rather than the one it is supposed to. There is a transposition type, where essentially a part (large or small) of 21 becomes attached to another chromosome, resulting in a partial trisomy, and there can be an issue with mitosis after the egg is fertilized, so that only a fraction of the cells carry the trisomy. This is a “mosaic” trisomy, and in this form the disability varies depending on how far along the development was when the error occurred.
tl;dr: It’s complicated.


of Puerto Rica

There’s a typo there. But I can’t decide which one.


Yeah, I’m having the whole “Homer and the possessed doll” reaction.

Representation - that’s good! Exploitation - that’s bad!


Actually, to correct you, Down’s Syndrome is caused when the expectant mother fails to pray the Hail Mary enough during the pregnancy.


I did some fashion and runway modeling back in the 80s and quit because it is a terrible, exploitative business. I don’t think we should be applauding anyone entering it.


Well, there is that, of course. It goes without saying. :crazy_face:


This seems more like exploitation than inclusion. I’m not comfortable with a company profiting from images of the breasts of a person with an IQ similar to a child’s.

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I know a bra can make people uneasy, but I’m uneasy about telling an adult DS model what she can or can’t do (assuming the person is deemed medically able to consent). “Sorry, you can’t have this contract because bra”.

“There are still some people who do not take me seriously. I deserve to be treated the same as every other model. I work as hard as anyone else.”
Madeline Stuart


That isn’t a photo of the model in this story and it isn’t the kind of photo Victoria’s Secret is using.

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