This is the Puerto Rican model with Down’s syndrome who has conquered the New York fashion industry after being born with a series of heart diseases.
Puerto Rican model Dalila Zapata Hernandez, 20, started modelling when she was seven years old after she enrolled in a modelling school called Annjannette in the municipality of Moca in her native Puerto Rico after a teacher encouraged her mother to register her daughter there.
Her mother Nelida Hernandez told local reporters: “In a month, she was already on catwalks and after the first one she was already in the media.”
According to Nelida, the first six months after she Dalila was born were not easy as she suffered from different heart diseases and was diagnosed with Down’s syndrome fifteen days after she was born.
Doctors recommended taking her to the United States to receive treatment and she underwent complicated surgery at the Hospital Deborah Heart and Lung Center in New Jersey.
Her mother Nelida Hernandez told local media: “When she was six months old they thought she would only live five days more. I got motivated when I saw a girl with Down’s syndrome on a box of Kellogs Corn Flakes and the doctor told me ‘don’t lose faith, she is going to be someone’.”
The young Puerto Rican model has already a model in New York Fashion Week, Child Model in Atlanta, Discover Your Beauty Fashion Show, San Juan Moda and at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Show.
She has also modelled for designers such as Miriam Budet, Jackie Tejada, MichelleAnn, Sonia Bonilla, Nathalia Lopez and Sonia Rivera.
She told local reporters: “I like being famous. I like being in magazines and this is my dream”.
Zapata is usually accompanied to shows and photoshoots by her mother who says she “supports her to show other parents that they can do it”
Her mother said: “This dedication is to send parents a message, that is Dalila’s mission on earth”
Zapata added: “Move forward, you can do it, that is my motto.”
According to the president of the fashion event San Juan Moda, Carlos Bermudez, the young model has created an example for other girls as “two girls with Down’s syndrome showed up for this year casting and they went through the normal process thanks to Dalila”.
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Story By: Jonathan Macias, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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