Dr Safeeya Mohammed
“Beauty begins the moment you decide
to be yourself.”
~ Coco Chanel
Monika Myers is an inspiration to all who interact with her or follow her journey. At age 14, she was the FIRST runway model in Toronto Kids Fashion Week with Down syndrome and also rocked the stage at the prestigious New York Fashion Week.
She does not allow Down Syndrome (DS) to define who she is. She sets her own rules and breaks all the stigmas and barriers associated to DS. It is simply just a part of her. She loves life, is confident in who she is and truly believes EVERY woman is beautiful.
Monika graced the shores of T&T, after being invited by the Down Syndrome Family Network (DSFN) for their commemorative week of events. She epitomised the line ‘rocked the runway’ inspiring along other members of DSFN who confidently strutted the designs of our local fashion designers; Charu Lochan Dass, Claudia Pegus, Ecclife Elie, Radical Designs and The Cloth.
“When I’m on the runway I feel alive, I love wearing beautiful clothes. I really love it!”, Monika enthusiastically shared.
“I don’t feel different: I think we are all beautiful and doing what we love to do,” she explained with contagious exuberance. Within her journey she has also been inspired by other people with disabilities.
“I don’t allow Down syndrome to be a limit!”
“The Fashion show was a forum for our young people to express themselves and to participate with top designers and models. To show that they can achieve anything once given a chance. It was an opportunity for the public to learn about the potential of persons with DOWN SYNDROME and break through the stigmas and myths surrounding persons with intellectual disabilities,” said Lisa Ghany, Director of DSFN and creator of ‘Fashion With Us’.
Meaningful connections created
Monika was accompanied by her entire family, Stephanie, John and William, who collectively shared, “We have fallen in love with the T&T people, their genuine warmth, the meaningful connections and memories are what we take back with us.”
While chatting with the WE Editor, Stephanie chuckled and added, “We will dream of this coconut ice-cream we enjoyed, while feeling the cool breeze on the magical beaches of Tobago. This is truly a Caribbean paradise.”
Stephanie said supporting her daughter on the path she has chosen is an easy decision. The hope expressed by the many parents they encounter; the encouraging feedback by fashion designers, and the positive climate of great affection by every community they have travelled to; continues to advance these choices further.
“Having Monika on the catwalk not only represents people with DS but is monumental for all people with disabilities. She is proof that we are all different and all equally beautiful in their own way. We should be confident in who we are and proud to celebrating our individualities,” she said.
The evening was one of monumental celebrations that embedded into the DNA of all that attended, that each person, despite any setback or challenge, is capable of accomplishing anything.
The message was clear.
No limits, No boundaries!
You can follow Monika’s Journey at
IG: @monikamyers08 | @iambraveandbeautiful
Opening Speech Delivered by Coryn
“Hello everyone. My name is Coryn Anaya Clarke and today I am here to join you in celebrating World Down Syndrome Day.
I have a confession; can I share it with you? I only recently learned what Down Syndrome is. Please don’t judge me too harshly, I’m only seven years old, so there’s a lot of stuff I don’t know yet. I’m curious by nature though, so I am learning new things everyday.
Now that I know what Down Syndrome means, I’m here to tell you that I stand in full support of this community, and I encourage you to do the same. These beautiful boys and girls, young men and young women are valiant, mighty and strong. They’re beautiful, brave and brilliant. They are CAPABLE. They can and will do amazing things.
Friends, I’m here to remind you that the extra chromosome does not mean less valuable, less capable or less important in any way.
It just means more to love.
It’s important for us to show that we appreciate them as valued members of the society. Each of us deserve a safe space to explore, learn and grow. Our national anthem says, “here every creed and race find an equal place,” that means each one of us should get opportunities to really pursue and accomplish our goals and dreams.
The theme for World Down Syndrome Day is With Us, Not For Us. I think this means that we have to continue to support them while giving them room to be independent, to do what they want to do and be who they want to be!
As citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, we have a responsibility to help each other learn, grow and live our best lives. I’m glad that you’re all here to celebrate this group of amazingly talented people. So sit back, relax and prepare to enjoy this fabulous show! Aren’t you excited to see all the amazing fashion?
I know I am! Thank you!