Photo credit: Sarah-beth Photography
Rarely do you see a person with a disability in an ad campaign that has nothing to do with his or her disability. Chicago mom, NPN member and photographer Katie Driscoll aims to change that with her charity, Changing the Face of Beauty. Her goal? To convince retailers large and small to include people with disabilities in their ad campaigns.
"The common response I receive from the industry is, 'We never even thought about including those with disabilities,'” says Driscoll, whose six kids are pictured, above. "My response is, That's unfortunate, because globally the disability community equates to the size of China. They, as well as their families, are a very brand-loyal community. Our mission continues to remind companies that not only is it socially important to include all people in their advertising, it is actually a good business decision."
She's had incredible success so far. She’s helped put the first model with Down syndrome, Jamie Brewer, on the runway at New York Fashion Week 2015. She has convinced more then 100 companies to put people with disabilities in their own advertising. She partnered with Tori Spelling and her Little Maven clothing line and created a holiday look book profiling kids with and without disabilities. She has appeared on the Today Show during its “Beauty Is” campaign.
But there's so much more she wants to do. Read on to learn more about Changing the Face of Beauty and how you can help.
What is your personal connection to the cause?
Changing the Face of Beauty is a part of our family now. Six years ago when our sixth child, Grace, was born, she was diagnosed with Down syndrome. At that moment our journey began. During the first couple years of her life if was important to me that I could show our world how thrilled I was to be a mom of a little girl after five boys. Her diagnosis of Down syndrome was secondary to our excitement of raising a little girl.
I found the easiest way to communicate just how similar our life was to everyone else's was through imagery. As I started reaching out to small Etsy vendors for images of kids like my daughter, I realized how under-represented children with disabilities were. Imagery speaks so much louder than conversation, so I pushed myself to learn how to use my camera and start capturing kids and young adults with disabilities modeling products. The response was fantastic and gave me the confidence to reach higher. I believe passionately in this mission and it consumes my everyday. I want to leave this world a better place for my children, and that means making sure they are all valued in the world they live in.