Teen with Down's syndrome wins an international beauty pageant for the first time ever

Mid Ulster Mail screengrab

Kate Grant was crowned winner at Teen Ultimate Beauty of the World pageant - the first ever contestant with Down's Syndrome to receive such an accolade.

The 19-year-old went away with the top prize despite doctors who painting "a bleak future" for her and said she wouldn't learn how to speak or read.

Grant competed in Portadown, Northern Ireland. The competition has three categories for children, teenagers and over-20s, and is open to anyone, regardless of weight or height, Mail Online reports.

Forty candidates took part from around the world, with Grant representing Northern Ireland.

The 19-year-old has wanted to be a model since she was 13 years old and modelled at Belfast Fashion Week, as well as for boutiques in her hometown of Cookstown.

She first caught the attention of the public last year after her mother Deirdre posted a photo of her daughter on her prom night and asked the internet if it was unrealistic for her daughter to aspire to be a model.

The post was subsequently shared almost 30,000 times, with readers sending messages of support for them both.

Speaking to Kim Willis for Sunday People, her mum said:

I thought of him [the doctor] as she made her acceptance speech up on the stage at the pageant, describing her hopes for an inclusive society, one where people like her are treated as equals.

But Kate beat the odds.

As part of her crown, Grant will have photoshoots all year and participate as a judge and mentor for next year's final. She said:

I want the next generation who have any special needs to know the true meaning of beauty is who you are, not what you look like. 

Kindness, compassion, and inner sparkle, that's the ultimate beauty.


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