Schoolgirl, 5, with Down's Syndrome becomes face of big brands - including River Island

A five-year-old girl with Down's Syndrome has become a model for multiple big brands including JD Sports, CBeebies, and River Island, and her mum is very proud indeed.

Young Grace Castle, from Leeds, West Yorkshire, only began modelling two years ago but has already made a name for herself, with her poses and bubbly personality earning her repeat bookings.

So far, little Grace has landed deals with some of the best-known clothing brands in the UK, including JD Sports and River Island, and has also modelled in adverts for the likes of CBeebies and Children in Need.

Mum, Linda Castle, who runs a café in Garforth, is incredibly proud of her daughter's achievements and is thrilled that household name companies are now working to encourage diversity and inclusivity within their advertising.

Get the news you want straight to your inbox. Sign up for a Mirror newsletter here.

Linda, 44, said: "It's really interesting what we perceive as beauty because we're so used to seeing 'unreal' types of people used to sell clothes.

"Her friends from support groups love seeing her out there because everybody wants to see somebody who looks like them.

"I'm so proud to see different people beginning to be represented and I think the media is taking a huge step. There is still a long way to go to change what we perceive as normal but it's refreshing to see brands becoming more integral and real in their approach".

Grace, who was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome at birth, fortunately, faces no major health complications apart from a small hole in her heart.

Linda recalled: "When she was born, the staff at the hospital had a bit of a mixed reaction as some people do when you give birth to a child with a disability but it really was one of the happiest days of our lives.

"When she got to eight months old, we began looking online for support groups to see what was out there for her situation. It was a surprising diagnosis and we were trying to figure out what could be done for her situation".

She continued: "We came across a group in Scunthorpe which initially did dance and drama for children with learning difficulties but then it became a modelling agency and we wanted to try it for a bit of fun.

"She was on their books and we went done to London for her first shoot with the clothing company, Boden and she ended up in their catalogue which was amazing".

Schoolgirl, 5, with Down's Syndrome becomes face of big brands - including River Island

Mirror More Hopeful

The Mirror is committed to more hopeful news.

We recognise the news agenda can sometimes feel overwhelmingly negative.

And while it's our job to keep you informed and hold those in power to account, we are making a commitment to also report more hopeful news.

We will celebrate the people, places and movements that are bringing good into the world and, more than that, we will dig beneath the surface of important issues with the aim of finding hope.

We will be firm in our convictions - but always fair-minded.

By sharing solutions to problems, we can do more good and feel better about the world around us.

Because we believe you deserve it. #mirrormorehopeful

According to Linda, bookings were a bit quiet during lockdown, and it was a pleasant surprise when the bookings started pouring in.

Linda said: "We've recently been flown out to Spain for a shoot - Grace absolutely loves the camera and has a great time doing it.

"During the River Island shoots, she gets to play or do an activity and they take candid photos of her. It's just all for a bit of fun and the money can go towards her future".

Grace is Linda and Nick Castle's youngest child, family and her siblings Josh, 14, Kara, 13, and Brooke, 8, are said to be super proud of their stylish little sister, as are her pals at school.

Linda added: "Everyone in her school knows her and the mums and kids loved seeing her pop up on their TV - she's got a bit of a celebrity status on the playground!"

Do you have a more hopeful story to share? We pay for stories. Email me at julia.banim@reachplc.com

Read More

Read More