My Story: 'I Am A Model With Down Syndrome, I Work At A Café & Break Stereotypes'
Writer: Atypical Advantage
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India, 31 Aug 2022 9:07 AM GMT
Creatives : Ankita Singh
A literature lover who likes delving deeper into a wide range of societal issues and expresses her opinions about the same. Keeps looking for best-read recommendations while enjoying her coffee and tea.
Ashrita was diagnosed with Down Syndrome when she was born. Although she and her family did not loose hope. Her interest in modelling continued despite all challenges and she walked the ramp finally. She joined a café later and now works
I am a 36-year-old aspiring model who loves dancing. After I was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, my family moved from Kolkata to Mumbai to provide me with best medical support and a fruitful path of development. At 6, I was enrolled to the Dilkhush Special School in Mumbai. I studied there for 18 years.
My first encounter with performing arts happened at Shiamak dance school. My parents thought dance would be a good way to develop my social skills. And my parents were right for I loved interacting with my fellow dancers. I would always participate in various dance programmes and mesmerise people with my performance.
Like every teenager, I was also fascinated with television ads and fashion magazines. I saw myself in those ads and photoshoots. I am grateful to my parents for realising my inclination towards modelling and fashion. My mother made a bold move and hired a professional photographer to do my portfolio.
This was a time when no one could imagine a special child being a model. The professional photographer charged an exorbitant price for the shoot, which involved a reel of 36 photographs being clicked. But I thoroughly enjoyed changing more than 10 attires, getting decked up and posing for the camera.
When my portfolio was ready, my mother and I contacted many ad agencies but thanks to stigma and lack of awareness, people failed to see my talent and confidence.
But we did not lose hope.
Eventually, I got an opportunity in a programme called 'Akanksha', organized by our community where I walked the ramp and dazzled everyone with my confidence. The programme is organized every 5 years and I am always their model to walk the ramp.
Recently she even bagged an opportunity to walk the ramp in Times Fashion week in Infinity mall.
In 2019, I went to Yash Charitable trust from Dilkhush Special school to work in Café Arpan in Mumbai as a trainee team member. I believe that one should be involved in various activities for self-development and thus grabbed the opportunity as a trainee in a café.
But with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was very difficult for me to cope with norms like wearing masks and thus I had to postpone the idea of joining Café Arpan as an employee by two years.
However, in June 2022, I rejoined as a trainee in Café Arpan and I am now an employee at the café where I go thrice a week and indulge myself in all the chores, be it making tea or chopping vegetables.
Inspired by Ashrita's determination? Hire her here for any modelling opportunities.
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