Model: Kennedy Garcia
I was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth. My mom was told I’d never learn to read or write or amount to anything and should be put in an institution. Thankfully, my mom didn’t believe that. She knew the possibilities were endless, and she’s always been my biggest advocate.
I’ve overcome many obstacles, including leukemia and 30 surgeries, and I consider these speed bumps along the road to success. Everything I’ve experienced has made me stronger, and I’ve used that strength to build a successful career. I’m proud to say I was the first model with Down syndrome for American Girl, and I’ve been in numerous national ad campaigns, TV shows, and commercials, including the 2022 Super Bowl commercial with Cardi B.
I’ll continue to speak about my life, so people understand that those with Down syndrome are no different than anyone else. It’s what makes us unique! I consider myself lucky to have the life I have. I have great friends, amazing experiences, and a supportive family. More than anything, people with Down syndrome just want your understanding, friendship, and respect. We’re just like you in all the ways that count. Not sure how to talk to someone with Down syndrome? Just go over and say hello. It could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
Photographer: Sean Scheidt