A young boy with Down’s syndrome has become the latest model for River Island’s children’s range.
Joseph Hale has been hailed as an inspiration as he promotes equal opportunities for kids around the country.
The 11-year-old can be seen on the runway with a bright smile among the young models for the high street chain.
An ad was launched yesterday and shows young Joseph, who hails from Grimsby, dancing in a ‘traditionalist’ outfit for the RI Kids Squad.
Parents Andrew and Karen told the Grimsby Telegraph of their son’s dyspraxia and development delay, as well as his Down’s syndrome.
Mum Karen said:
Disability should not define them. Joseph is a person. His Down’s is a small part of him. There is a lot more to see than the face value.
They have a physical disability yes, but people have preconceived ideas – you need to see the person beneath.
There is a lot they can teach others about not taking things for granted and they don’t judge anybody.
They still have the same thoughts and feelings and dreams.
Young Joseph is pleased with the reaction to his campaign, and said it was nice to show the video to his mates at school, saying ‘people can take selfies with me now.’
River Island made it comfortable for me and I really enjoyed it. I was trying to get everyone to dance to the music. It is good to be able to champion disabilities.
It would be great to do a shoot with Jaffa Cakes or Batman or with Smyths toys.
Joseph isn’t a stranger to the limelight after he shot to stardom with fellow members of the Zedebee Performing Arts Group when he auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent last month.
Zedebee director Zoe Proctor told the Grimsby Telegraph:
He has done extremely well and we are very proud of him. This is a great way to celebrate diversity in the fashion world.
We have a lot of talented models on our books and we work with a lot of models nationally.
But it is great to have the first jobs for local children. It is really special.
River Island’s Ashleigh Skinner said:
Joseph is a very special and sweet boy.
From Batman to Jaffa Cakes, Joseph is a big fan of the classics and this comes through in his style too. Smart with a relaxed feel, he likes to keep things traditional.
The film shows off Joseph’s fun personality and love of his shiny disco dancing shoes. His favourite thing to do is to visit his grandparents and he loves Jaffa Cakes.
Well done to Joseph on bagging a great gig, we can’t wait to see his cheeky grin all over the place!