I so fervently believe in diversity and inclusion in advertising.
We all need to see ourselves represented in the media, regardless of our ethnicity, gender, sexuality, genetic makeup or ability.
Almost a decade ago Natty became one of the first models in the UK with a disability, working on a national Back to School campaign among other projects.
|Natty, model with Down's syndrome
The news went global, and not just within our Down's syndrome community. Newspapers and TV shows were all discussing what shouldn't really have been hot news.
|A time when inclusive advertising was big news
Since then, thankfully, many companies have followed suit. I am always particularly heartened when I see models of diversity adorning the front of beauty magazines or advertising makeup and sportswear... because why shouldn't they! Natty loves makeup and keeping active, just as much as her sister and her peers.
Just Strong Sisters
So I was particularly excited when Activewear brand Just Strong asked if we'd like to trial some of their products. Not only was this a chance to see Natty associated with a sportswear company, and boost the girls mental and physical wellbeing by encouraging them to get active together, but a way to show the world what strength can mean for each of us.
I have many role models in my life but my daughters rank among them the highest. Natty and her sister Mia couldn't be more different in personality and appearance, but their friendship and respect for each other is a pleasure to watch. Their bond is unbreakable and their strengths are varied.
|Mia and Natty have a strong sisterly bond
And, just like beauty and success, we all have the power to be strong. Each of us of us as unique and glorious as the next.
We are all capable of embracing our perfect imperfections. We are all capable of finding confidence by celebrating our seemingly insignificant significant achievements. We are all capable of working on the natural physical and emotional strengths we have, whatever our abilities and needs. And we are all capable of supporting and bolstering others to do the same, accepting them for who they are and giving everyone an equitable chance to have a go.
Towers of Strength
There's petite Natty, professional poser, intuitive dancer, family arm wrestling champion, hilarious to the last, and with a cheeky twinkle in her eye.
|Strong and graceful Natty
Her strength comes with the bravery of facing medical interventions and surgeries, proudly telling anyone who'll listen that her 'heart was fixed,' when she was two years old.
And it comes with in her determination to overcome challenges, working many times harder than her peers to learn everyday skills such as walking, reading, drinking and swimming. Never put off, Natty will find a way round obstacles, using her unique initiative. Before she could say 'I love you,' she'd sign 'You... Happy... Me...' So perfectly put, Natty.
|Natty enjoys yoga to help her relax and settle her before bed
Then there's Mia, a fiercely protective big sister, published author, and young woman who is not afraid to stand up to bullies and use her voice to fight for justice and equality. This is someone who has experienced many difficulties in life, whose teenage years were blighted by divorce and a global pandemic, which stole many rites of passage from her, but whose strength comes in resilience, in learning to bend like a reed in the winds of change and in finding joy in her friendships, outings in her little car, beach swims and horse riding.
So thank you, thank you Just Strong, for including us in your campaign.