20-year-old Maija Mattila’s interest in modelling began at a tender age after seeing Polina Hiekkaa make those strides before a panel of judges during a reality TV show. From a tender age, Maija wanted to become a model, but we all know the fashion industry is a cut-throat business where what’s good and ‘not good’ is viewed from a limited field of view from a key hole. Maija was born with Down’s syndrome, and what despite her challenge, she soldiered on to pursue her dreams.
She began watching YouTube videos of her role model, Polina Hiekkala, and practising her walks at home. Her mother, Anna-Erika Mattila, admits it was very difficult for her to support how daughter’s dreams knowing very well the fashion industry might not accommodate her condition.
“I wanted her to have more realistic ambitions,” say Anna-Erika.
Maija, being of mixed race and living in a predominantly white society received more than her fair share of bullying at school. She was bullied because of her darker tone skin shade, “And then there’s Down’s syndrome on top of that,” said her mother.
All the same, Maija was not …read more