A young boy with autism, who was banned from school activities for having anger issues, has landed a new job as a model for top high street brands.
Alfie Aldridge wasn’t allowed to take part in his school play or even have his school photo taken because of his anger and stress, issues related to his condition.
The 11-year-old was diagnosed with high functioning autism, and moved to a specialist school called Larwood School, in Stevenage. He still has some trouble socialising and working in groups, but since finding his passion for modelling, the youngster is said to be more calm.
A family friend suggested Alfie tried out as a model, and before long, he was snapped up by Zebedee Management modelling agency. He now appears as the face of brands like River Island, H&M and Land Rover.
Alfie’s father, Gary, expressed his delight at his son’s change of character:
I want people to know disabilities can’t stop your dreams.
Since starting modelling he just seems different. It was like he was born to do it. It’s helped him to come out of himself. From a boy that was angry all the time, he is now so confident. It’s just fabulous.
50-year-old Gary continued:
The modelling and acting has made him grow so much, he doesn’t get angry like he would have done
Before leaving mainstream school it looked like we had no hope, but the things he’s achieved now are fantastic.
He doesn’t get aggressive any more and never on set.
Businessman Gary added Alfie had tried out a few different hobbies before modelling, but none of them suited him as well as being in front of the camera.
I tried different things like swimming lessons or gymnastics and football, but he doesn’t like working in a group. When we found his real passion, modelling, he was so much more relaxed.
Zebedee Management is a model agency for children with disabilities, whose website reads:
Our models are beautiful! No ifs, no buts, no excuses. Talent and beauty don’t care how many legs you have or what condition you were born with.
As a specialist modelling agency, we’re passionate about redefining the perception of beauty, disability and diversity. And with the right opportunities and support, we believe amazing things can happen to amazing people.
Alfie has some high hopes for his future career, and spoke about how he enjoys being treated like a celebrity on modelling shoots.
The 11-year-old said:
I am very excited about my modelling and I want to be a top model when I am older.
When I go in for a shoot they do my hair and makeup and it makes me feel like a celebrity. I talk to my friends about it at school and they say it’s really cool.
It must be awesome for Alfie to see his face popping up on adverts for high street stores!
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.