Young model with Down’s syndrome stars in new campaign for River Island
An 11-year-old boy has become a star of River Island’s new campaign for their children’s range, in a move that his parents hope will help change perceptions of people with Down’s syndrome.
Joseph Hale is one of eight child models for the RI Kids Squad campaign, which launched today, and was chosen for the role after being spotted by scouts.
His parents, Andrew and Karen Hale, said their son, who also has dyspraxia and global development delay, should enjoy the same opportunities as any other child.
“I think it will definitely change the view of people seen with disabilities," said Mrs Hale, 48, from Cleethorpes, in North East Lincolnshire.
“For Joseph to be included is a real positive thing and we are so proud of him. It shows there is much more to his personality and hopefully this will be seen by other parents and children who realise his disability does not define him.
“There is a lot more to see of Joseph than at face value and he is perceived with the same thoughts, dreams and ambitions as someone without Down's Syndrome. I hope this changed the perception the world has on people with Down's Syndrome.
“It shows what they can do and there isn't a label there. People need to realise that these children are just like anyone else, and with the right support, they can achieve great things.”
Joseph, who attends the Cambridge Park Academy in Grimsby, seems to be enjoying his new fame. He said: “It was nice to show the video to friends at school. People can take selfies with me now.”
The schoolboy, who is a big fan of Jaffa Cakes and Batman, was picked by scouts for River Island after they saw his portfolio on his agent Zebedee Management's website.
The family were approached and asked if Joseph would be interested in shooting an online video for their advertising campaign.
Zoe Proctor, the Zedebee director, said: “He has done extremely well and we are very proud of him. This is a great way to celebrate diversity in the fashion world.”