Meet our next top model, Riley Baxter, who is also known as “Smiley Riley”, and he’s making waves and melting hearts (and maybe even breaking too…) with his adorable modeling job pictures for the Jools Oliver Little Bird range. This four-year-old, who is from Rochester, Kent, may have Down syndrome, but that never held him back.
Stuart and Kirsty, Riley’s parents were very worried that the world would treat their baby boy unfairly, but after joining groups for support, they have been left happily surprised since it looks like everyone just adores Riley, and we can definitely see why!
After several suggestions from friends to try modeling, Riley joined Zebedee Management, and not long after joining, Riley’s infamous smile landed him with an awesome contract.
Stuart, a Sales Manager states “After we were told he had Down’s syndrome, I cried – not for the case that I would love him any less, but just knowing how cruel the world can be.” He went on to comment: “That was the first thing that went through my mind but obviously my perceptions were wrong – and wow, how wrong I was! There was the fear of the unknown and why this had happened to us, but if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have been upset at all.”
Stuart and Kirsty go on to say, “We have called him “Smiley Riley” from a young age, because he makes people really happy, and seeing his smile gives people a pick-me-up on a bad day. Riley is getting so much out of life, and whenever he accomplishes something, it seems that little bit extra special knowing how much harder he had to work for it.” They also comment saying “now he’s modeling with Zebedee, he loves the camera – you say pose and he will make this little pout followed by sticking his tongue out. In the photo-shoots they want the children to act natural and naturally he’s a very happy little boy, so it’s brilliant. He enjoys everything he does and does it all with a smile, whenever people see him, they don’t see his disability; just him smiling.”
Kirsty and Stuart have always been concerned that he would be treated differently, but have now seen the public give the little guy nothing but love and kindness.