It is good that Maija is realising her dream and acknowledged the barriers before her to which she managed to overcome.
Modeling is not an easy experience for anyone, but even with all her additional barriers Maija came through.
I wish her well for the future.
When a mixed-race girl with Down’s syndrome sat down to watch Finland’s Next Top Model, it might have seemed a distant world. But for Maija Mattila, it started the dream that changed her life.
Maija watched in awe as the tall, dark, aspiring model walked in front of judges of the reality TV show and posed for the camera. This was Polina Hiekkala, and she was doing everything Maija wanted to do.
Maija’s hazel brown eyes light up when she talks about modelling.
The young Finnish-Nigerian woman explains how she has watched countless hours of catwalk videos on YouTube since being inspired by Hiekkala in 2012.
“I started practising my walk at home, in front of the mirror,” she says.
Maija, who was born with Down’s syndrome and is now 20, leans gently against her mother and laughs shyly when recalling her early steps towards a modelling career.
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