Choctaw Student With Down Syndrome Is First To Represent Oklahoma In Fashion Show
CHOCTAW, Oklahoma - A local high school student is defying all odds, becoming the first to represent Oklahoma in the "Be Beautiful, Be Yourself" fashion show.
Courtney Gaines, 16, attended the show held in Denver on November 2.
The fashion show is a fundraiser for down syndrome research and medical care.
A-list celebrities attended Saturday’s event, including Jamie Foxx, his sister who also has down syndrome, Eric Dane and Quincy Jones.
Gaines’ mother, DeAnna, began planning the trip right away after learning they’d be able to take part in June.
“There were so many kids there and adults with down syndrome and they were just kind of free to express themselves, free to do what they wanted, free to be themselves,” said DeAnna Gaines. “It’s like wow, that’s my baby up there.”
Actress and Model Mikaela escorted Courtney down the runway. Her hair and makeup were done for the event. Courtney even got to shop for a new dress.
“She is on cloud nine, she is hyped, she is excited,” said DeAnna. “She hated to leave Denver and so did I. It was lovely.”
Courtney plans to launch her own non-profit next year, calling it “Closet 21c.” It'll raise money for other organizations serving students and adults with disabilities, and historically black colleges and universities.
“Courtney is a living example of there is nothing that can stop you,” said Attorney Christina Kirk, who is helping establish the business. “If she hasn't let any of her limitations stop her, then what keeps us from letting anything stop us.”
Closet 21c is expected to be up and running by March 2020.