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Teen with Down Syndrome Wins International Beauty Pageant

A Northern Ireland teen became the first person with Down syndrome to win an international beauty pageant. Kate Grant, 19, won the crown over other 40 candidates and was named Teen Ultimate Beauty of the World at the ceremony held in Portadown, reports The Mirror.

“The true meaning of beauty is who you are, not what you look like”, said Grant after receiving the crown. “My dream has come true,” she added. “And that dream is to get a chance to inspire young people who have Down syndrome and other special needs to believe in themselves.”

For the now beauty queen, her victory was a total surprise. “I was in shock. My family were all in the audience, crying and cheering,” she said in the interview with the publication.

Teen Ultimate Beauty Of The World competition is open to anyone no matter their weight, height or marital status. The organization supports the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a charity dedicated to fulfill wishes to children with life-threatening conditions. During the competition, contestants were interviewed by a panel of judges before modeling different outfits on the runway.

Kate started her modeling career at 13 when she took part in Belfast Fashion Week, but overall it has been a struggle for her. Her mother, Deidre Grant, said that she sent many of Kate’s photographs to different modeling agencies, but says that she didn’t receive a response – which she believes is because of Kate’s Down syndrome.

The proud mom recently took it to social media and posted a photo of Kate and asked followers if it was unrealistic for her daughter to become a professional model. The publication received over 26,000 shares and caught the eye of Taylor-Rae Hamilton, the beauty pageant director, who invited Kate to join. “Kate said it was her dream come true to enter the pageant. Now she could help make dreams come true for other kids,” said Deidre to The Mirror.

For now, Kate will have a year filled with photo shoots and interviews. She will also work with the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and will be a judge and mentor at next year’s competition.

Her hope is that the next generation of kids with special needs could know that the true meaning of beauty is kindness, compassion, and inner sparkle.


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