There was a huge round of applause as Australian model Madeline Stuart sashayed down the runway with aplomb at the New York Fashion Week (NYFW) on Sept. 13. She was making her first appearance at NYFW, but there were no debutant’s emotions -- anxiety and nervousness -- flitting across her sparkly blue face. She strutted like a true professional, sporting a warm smile.

Brisbane-based Madeline is not your regular thin, tall model but is a model with Down’s syndrome. It has not been an easy journey for her, and during her growing-up years, she struggled with her weight. However, in just a span of a year, she has become a teen inspiration, as it was only last year that she resolved to shed her inhibitions, work on her physique to become fit and give her dreams a good chase.

Madeline, or Maddy as she is called by her loved ones, first expressed her desire to become a model when she attended a fashion show with her mother, Rosanne Stuart, last year. She said to her mother, “Mum, Me, Model." Her mother says on her blog that her little girl always loved being in the spotlight, and she knew that Madeline wanted to walk the ramp.

The18-year-old has walked the ramp on several occasions since then. She is now the first model with Down’s syndrome to become the face of cosmetic brand GlossiGirl, and she also has a bag named after her, called ‘The Madeline,’ by eco-handbag label EverMaya.

Madeline has also become known as the first professional adult model with Down’s syndrome in the world. She has earned for herself a mini-celebrity status, with her followers on her social media accounts -- Instagram , Twitter and Facebook -- increasing every day.

It is Madeline’s public profile on Facebook, created by her mother, that got her first noticed. Within a week of creating the Facebook account, Madeline’s photos went viral. Ms Stuart says in her blog that her daughter has given people hope that “their children living with Down syndrome would achieve anything they set their mind to.”

A few days before she paraded out for designer Hendrik Vermeulen ​ at NYFW, wearing a white gown with metallic overlay on the bodice, as well shiny and sheer separates, International Business Times, Australia Edition spoke to Madeline via an email interview.

Madeline said that she was very excited about her debut at NYT, saying “ I do not get nervous unless and until it is a jump on a basketball court to play a game.” Here is an excerpt of the interview:

How did you prepare for the runaway?

I had two training sessions from a lady who works in conjunction with the Juilliard School of Arts.

Who is your favourite fashion designer(s)?

Black milk and Running bear.

How were you discovered by American label FTL Moda?

I am not sure; I think they just contacted us after seeing us on the Internet.

How did you start as a model? Who, or what, inspired you to take up modelling as a career?

I went to a fashion parade and fell in love with it; we then went and did a professional photo shoot and mum posted them to a public profile on Facebook.

What is your dream modelling job?

I think every day is a dream, I am having so much fun and I really hope it continues.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to play sport and hang out with my boyfriend.

Your Mother seems to be your driving force. How would you describe her influence in your life?

Mum is my best friend. She not only cares for me, but is my inspiration, too. She has always been a strong force and supported me.

What is your advice to the aspiring models, who see you as a role model?

Believe in yourself

The best word of advice that you have received?

Always be positive.

On Oct. 03, Madeline is all set to walk the catwalk for Nelson Chung, professionally known as Onch Movement, a popular Taiwanese-American jewellery designer and television personality, at Melange 2015 San Francisco. At the same event, she will receive the Model of the Year Award, becoming the first model with Down’s syndrome to win this prestigious award.