+1 vote
"Growing up, my sister has always wanted to do everything I did. Whether it was
"Growing up, my sister has always wanted to do everything I did. Whether it was going to the movies or moving out of the house to live on my own — she wanted the same opportunities, and deservedly so! One day when I showed her a magazine I was in, to no surprise Brittany responded, 'I want to do that. I want to model!' I would always just tell her, 'Brittany, you are already a model! I'm trying to be more like you!' But she kept asking, so I knew it was something she really wanted. I’ve always tried everything in my power to provide Brittany with every opportunity I’ve been given in this life, so I didn’t take her wish lightly. My sister's happiness has always been and forever will be, my happiness. Being in the fashion industry, I realized I had a network that could potentially make this wish come true — not to mention, Brittany’s birthday was coming up. Birthdays are a big deal for Brittany. To give you an idea of what I mean. she starts talking about her birthday months before the date! I wanted to do something extra special because I know how much it would mean to her.

I had put the ask out on social media that I wanted to do this special photo shoot with my sister and I had messages from all around the world. I ended up teaming up with HIVE.Studio and Bearwalk Films. They shot and produced a fashion editorial and BTS video for her special day. Brittany's reaction was priceless when she found out what we were doing for her birthday. It was a total surprise and she didn't know until we walked onto the set. She started jumping up and down and giving me a hug and crying. It was very emotional.

My number one priority was to make my sisters day, but on a greater scale, it did so much more. It not only drove awareness around people with special needs, it went one step further by fostering wider acceptance. It also challenged what our society generally considers 'beautiful.' Everybody should have the same opportunities in this life no matter where they're born or what they're born with. Beauty comes in so many different forms. Love is beauty. Confidence is beauty. Charisma and character are beauty. To me, my sister Brittany, is the epitome of beauty. So many people feel bad for people with special needs like my sister who has Down Syndrome because they think they are 'suffering.' It's usually quite the opposite. I'm the one who is suffering. We are the one's who are suffering. All my sister knows is unconditional love and light. Every day, I try to be a better man and more like my sister — regardless of what society thinks of me as a successful fashion model. In my eyes, she is one of the only things that is pure and perfect in this world. I am so blessed to have her in my life. She is my rock and I love her to the sky and back."

Submitted by Chris Garafola

601 views Nov 7, 2017
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