'He's full of magic and mischief': How a four-year-old boy with Down's Syndrome charmed the pants off M&S to land starring role in High Street retailer's Christmas catalogue
20:35 GMT, 20 September 2012
A four-year-old boy with Down's syndrome has been chosen to model for Marks and Spencer’s Christmas catalogue.
Seb White, who has previously modelled for JoJo Maman Bb, landed the contract after his mother personally contacted the High Street retailer.
Caroline, 39, says she became frustrated with the lack of diversity in kids modelling campaigns, and felt that children like her son were not being represented.
Little star: Seb White, who has Down's syndrome, has been picked to feature in Marks & Spencer's in-store Christmas catalogue
Modelling career: Seb has previously posed for JoJo Maman Bb
'When Seb was born, I vividly remember seeing lots of ads with hundreds of beautifully perfect kids in them and it just added to my sense of isolation and difference.
'Then back in July when we were shopping for Seb’s school uniform it occurred to me again that all the “different” children out there that are starting school are just not represented.'
Caroline posted a message on M&S’s Facebook page asking for modelling work for Seb.
'He has striking, unusual features, charms the pants off everyone he meets and his little face is full of magic and mischief,' she wrote.
'So here’s the thing. He also happens to have Down’s Syndrome. When he was born I was shocked to my core.
'I knew nothing about the condition and what should have been the happiest day of my life was the worst…My heartfelt plight is to get him ‘out there’ and get the message across that different isn’t any less wonderful – or even that different.
Face of the future: Some of the four-year-old's best modelling shots
Mummy's boy: Seb pictured on his first day at school with his mother Caroline
'I also think using him could help
create a truly original, bold and memorable campaign, which would fit
perfectly with M&S’s family values and inclusive ethics.'
Her Facebook post received a huge response and she was contacted by the brand soon after.
'I didn’t dare get my hopes up but when I made the call I couldn’t believe it,' she says. 'They thought the idea was great.'
Within a week, Seb was invited to a photo-shoot at a studio in London.
likes being the centre of attention and he loves cameras,' says
Caroline. 'The people who did the shoot were amazing with him.'
Caroline says she hopes that her
son’s inclusion in the catalogue will help change attitudes
towards Down's syndrome.
‘The biggest thing that I hope for is that someone will see that we lead a really typical family life,’ she told BBC news.
‘Hopefully people won’t think it’s a real tragedy because it really isn’t. I wouldn’t swap him for the world.'
Boy wonder: 'He has striking, unusual features, charms the pants off everyone he meets and his little face is full of magic and mischief,' says his doting mother Caroline
Glowing review: 'We always look for kids who have fun in front of the camera and Sebastian was a pleasure to work with,' says a Marks & Spencer spokesperson
The mother-of-two, who lives in Bath
with husband Simon and her other son, one-year-old son Dominic and Seb,
says she was thrilled when Marks and Spencer’s agreed to feature him.
Seb will appear in Marks & Spencer's upcoming in-store Christmas catalogue.
'The response from our customers
to Caroline’s post on our Facebook page was amazing. It really was
social media at its best,' a Marks & Spencer spokesperson said.
'We always look for kids who have fun in front of the camera and Sebastian was a pleasure to work with.
'Everyone involved in the shoot had a fantastic day and we’re really looking forward to seeing Sebastian in our Christmas magazine.'
Caroline is now hoping to find Seb, who started school last week, a starring role in a TV campaign.
'I’ve never been the sort of mother who pushes her kids to do modelling, but it is about getting his face out there and raising awareness.
'If Seb’s modelling helps someone else who feels isolated because of Down’s Syndrome, then we’ve done what we set out to do.'
Child's play: A recent Marks and Spencer Back to School campaign