An 11-year-old boy with Down’s syndrome has secured his first modelling job as one of the new faces fronting River Island’s children’s range.
Joseph Hale, from Grimsby, features alongside other children with mixed abilities in the ‘RI Kids Squad’ campaign, which his parents hope will help pave the way for more acceptance for people with disabilities.
Diagnosed with dyspraxia and global development delay, as well as Down’s syndrome, Joseph is the eldest of the squad and shows off his fun personality and love of shiny disco dancing shoes in the campaign.
His first official modelling job since signing with Zebedee Management, a specialist modelling agency, the youngster told the Grimsby Telegraph how much he enjoyed taking part in the shoot.
“It was nice to show the video to friends at school. People can take selfies with me now,” Hale said.
“River Island made it comfortable for me and I really enjoyed it. I was trying to get everyone to dance to the music. It is good to be able to champion disabilities.“
Immensely proud of their son, Joseph’s parents Karen and Andrew say they’re extremely grateful to River Island for selecting him and choosing to represent children, young people and adults of all abilities in the media.
“Advertising can put across in a very positive way, that even if a person has a special need and/or a disability they still have emotions, thoughts, feelings, and dreams the same as anyone else,” they told HuffPost UK.
“And, given the correct guidance, support and right opportunities to be included in everything, they can thrive and achieve the most wonderful things.”
River Island’s Ashleigh Skinner added, “Joseph is a very special and sweet boy.
“From Batman to Jaffa Cakes, Joseph is a big fan of the classics and this comes through in his style too. Smart with a relaxed feel, he likes to keep things traditional.”