“I designed L’Obscur mascara for an authentic person who uses makeup to tell their story of freedom, in their way,” Alessandro Michele told Vogue. Michele is Gucci’s creative designer who chose Ellie Goldstein, a British model with Down syndrome, to be the product’s image.
Ellie’s photograph, taken by David PD Hyde, was selected from among those submitted to the #theguccibeautyglitch project, organized by Gucci Beauty and Vogue Italy magazine through Instagram, exploring the theme “Unconventional Beauty.”
The Italian firm is joining the social wave of support for diversity and disability, and the public’s response has been very positive: Ellie’s photo has garnered more than 114,000 likes.
Challenges in daily life
Ellie Goldstein wears the best of her smiles. “The only challenge I have faced was maybe people signing to me and talking to my mum instead of me, until realizing that I can communicate and that I am just like them, maybe just slower at learning some things,” she told Vogue, where she is also the focus of an editorial.
“I’m happy with myself.”
Ellie looks natural and happy, and these characteristics are the best banner for conveying beauty, according to Gucci and its modeling agency.
“When I look at the images I feel happy with myself,” she said when she saw the result of the campaign and the thousands of positive comments she received on Instagram.
She wears almost transparent make-up, giving the look of porcelain skin with a slight blush on her cheeks; her eyebrows are “groomed but informal” so that they look slightly unkempt, but as if someone has left them in their best position, and—of course—she’s wearing the new Gucci mascara on her eyelashes.
Ellie’s agency is Zebedee Management, which specializes in models with “disabilities and alternative appearances.” The young model signed up with the company when she was 15.
“The world is ready to embrace diversity and inclusion”
Yvonne Goldstein, Ellie’s mother, told BBC in Spanish that she would never have imagined that a firm like Gucci would be interested in her daughter, even though she stresses that “she wants to be famous”.
But in the face of what’s happened, she admits, “The response we’ve seen only shows us that the world is ready to embrace diversity and inclusion. And with everything that’s going on, we need to look at things in a more positive light,” she says. Laura Johnson, of Zebedee, told reporter Faima Bakar of Metro,
“Inclusion of all people in the industry is so important, not only because it the right thing to do ethically, but also makes good business sense … Ellie is such a wonderful person inside and out. She lights up the room when she walks in and is such a professional. She is incredibly skilled and such natural beauty. This means the world to her, her family and the wider community. We really hope that all brands take note and including disabled models now becomes the norm.’”
Teenager with Down syndrome wows the art world