‘Be happy and brave’: Local model with Down syndrome hopes to inspire others with her story

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TWINSBURG, Ohio — A childhood cancer survivor born with Down syndrome is shaking up the modeling industry in Ohio and around the world.

Olivia DePiore, 22, of Twinsburg has a busy year ahead after booking work during New York Fashion Week in Milan and Dubai in 2020.

“Modeling is so fun, makes me happy, glad,” said Olivia.

Olivia’s parents, John and Vicky, said they are proud of her success after just three years in the industry. They hope her achievements show that people with  disabilities have multiple talents to offer society.

“Individuals with challenges can be just like you and I and can be competitive on the runway, in print, can actually prove to the world that it can happen and we need more of that,” said Vicky.

Olivia was diagnosed with Leukemia when she was six-years-old but has been in remission since 2006. Her parents said overcoming challenges in life has made her strong and thanks to modeling, even more independent.

“What we want to see most is how can we make her independent and her communication skills, her social skills, her independent living skills have all improved with all these opportunities,” said her dad, John.

Olivia currently holds the Miss Amazing Jr. Miss title and recently modeled in Paris. Her mother said she even studies other models online to improve her work.

“People with challenges, disabilities, we should look at what they can do and not what they can’t do,” said John.

Olivia, who works two jobs in addition to modeling, has this word of advice for other young people working towards their dreams.

“Be happy and brave, tough like me,” she said.

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