A four-year-old girl with Down’s syndrome took the catwalk by storm during a fashion show for disabled models.
Francesca Rausi, from Malta, lit up the auditorium with her radiant smile as she waved at the audience.
The youngster joined model Madeline Stuart – the world’s first catwalk model with Down’s syndrome, who also took part in the show.
Madeline, 23, from Australia, has been praised for challenging the perception of beauty in society and has strutted the catwalk at New York Fashion Week and rubbed shoulders with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
Now Francesca’s proud mother Michelle, 43, hopes her daughter can follow in Madeline’s footsteps and raise awareness about Down’s syndrome.
She told FEMAIL she would love to be a professional model one day, and is also a passionate ballet dancer.
‘Francesca has been modelling since she was very young. She loves it and was the first toddler in Malta to take part in a modelling competition and won junior top model,’ Michelle told Metro.
Michelle added that her daughter feels ‘very comfortable’ on the catwalk in front of people and has now modelled in five shows.
At a previous international fashion event, Francesca took home the ‘Best Cutie Little Model’ prize, and shortly after was crowned ‘Best Junior Super Model’ at the Miss Junior Malta competition.
She admitted to feeling ‘very emotional’ when she watches her because she sees the ‘happiness in her eyes’ which she described as ‘out of this world’.
The charity show was organised by Tiziana Randisi, who started up the event to encourage inclusion of people with disabilities.
It featured 22 models, aged between four and 24, with the goal of breaking down the mental barriers of people who see disability as a limit.
‘Instead we see it and live as a resource and a wealth to share,’ Tiziana said.
Francesca’s mother Michelle has set up an Instagram page – @frani002 – where she posts adorable photos of her little girl.
She told Femail that her daughter is taking part in another show this weekend – competing for Junior Ms Christmas.
As for Madeline, she walked for 18 designers including Tommy Hilfiger at London and New York Fashion Weeks this season, at one point handing out high-fives to her admirers in the front row.
Her 319,000 followers on Instagram devour updates about her glamorous lifestyle and strict exercise regime, with her most popular post viewed more than 338,000 times.