Changing the Face of Beauty
Sep 29, 2015 12:37PM ● Published by Elena Hutslar
By Alison Clary
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Hundreds of people will participate in the Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk at Pleasant Hill Middle School, Sunday, October 4, 10am – 3pm. The goal of this fundraiser is to raise $150,000 to support the non-profit organization, Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay. When you go to this event, you will be in good company with “Cora’s Crew,” a dedicated group of friends and family of Cora Slocum, daughter of Martinez residents Kerri and Scott Slocum. Cora is a four-year-old with Down’s syndrome. She also happens to be a model.
Kerri says her daughter got involved in modeling when she was just two years old through a promotional video for Easter Seals of the Bay Area. “She was such a natural that the photographer suggested I look into modeling for her. Then, last year, I saw a segment on the Today Show about the organization Changing the Face of Beauty, and I started following them on Facebook.” Changing the Face of Beauty challenges traditional perceptions and definitions of beauty. It celebrates diversity by advocating for equal representation of people with disabilities in advertising and media.
Kerri says, “It’s an important mission because the more exposure people have to those different from themselves, the more acceptance and inclusion will be shown to individuals, regardless of their abilities.” She describes Cora as a determined little girl who is social, engaging, and full of joy. “She loves playing with her big brother and sister and enjoys preschool, books, music, and dancing – just like most 4 year olds! Milestones that come naturally for her peers have taken more time for her. But, we’ve been privileged to have therapists and teachers that have guided her and set no limits on what she can accomplish and she has thrived.”
With a personal commitment to challenging stereotypes, Kerri told me what the international movement towards inclusiveness of people with differences in the media means to her. “Advertising still has a long way to go. The fact that Cora’s story went viral is indicative that people are ready for more ‘real’ models that are currently underrepresented. Whenever models with disabilities are profiled it makes national news. My hope is that by the media-recognizing individuals of all abilities, more doors will be open for full inclusion in other areas of life.”
Cora has had two catalog shoots with Livie & Luca, a local children’s shoe company, and Kerri says, “As long as she continues to enjoy modeling, we’re hoping for more work for her in the future.”
The mission of Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area is: “To empower, inspire and support people with Down syndrome, their families and the community that serves them, while fostering awareness and acceptance in all areas of life.”
For more information on how to donate or register for the Step Up For Down’s Syndrome Walk in Pleasant Hill, go to www.dsconnection.org.