ELLIE Goldstein is like most 20-year-olds – she loves to dance, eat Nando's and chat to her mates.
But unlike most other 20-year-olds, Ellie is also a groundbreaking Gucci beauty model and now a celebrated Myth Buster as part of learning disability charity Mencap’s brilliant new campaign.
She’s one of 18 Myth Busters, appearing alongside Harvey Price, son of Katie Price, CBeebies presenter George Webster and Line Of Duty actor Tommy Jessop.
Together they are championing people with a learning disability, and smashing taboos as they do it.
"The Myth Busters want to change people’s minds about living with a learning disability and what it looks like," says Ellie.
Around 1.5 million people in the UK are living with a learning disability, and representation on telly, in film and in the media, is shockingly scarce.
But seeing Ellie’s success, and the success of her fellow Myth Busters – like football coach Sas Granville, business owner and baker Michael Beynon, and political campaigner Heidi Crowter – is set to really shake things up for the better.
Ilford-born model Ellie has Down’s syndrome and has been modelling since she was just 15.
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Signed to Zebedee Management, an inclusive agency that represents ‘models with disabilities and alternative appearances’, she's appeared in super glam campaigns for the likes of Superdrug, Nike, Primark and Vodafone, and most recently, adidas.
Ellie has smashed through barriers by becoming the face of Gucci’s Unconventional Beauty campaign and totally defied doctors who told mum Yvonne that she'd never walk, talk or have a normal life.
And it’s no surprise. Chat to Ellie and you can’t help but get caught up in her enthusiasm for life, and her determination to live it to the absolute fullest.
Here, Ellie shares her hopes and dreams…
I want to show the world that people with a learning disability are all equals and can live their best lives like me – be yourself!
The Myth Busters want to change people’s minds about living with a learning disability and what it looks like.
People are not mean to me, but they don't understand what a learning disability is.
I want to show people I'm confident and living my best life.
Being famous is really fun and a confidence boost.
I even get stopped by strangers on the street. It can be overwhelming sometimes. It’s a whirlwind and crazy.
I want to see more people with a learning disability on the telly.
When I do see people on telly that look like me, I'm like, 'Wow!' But it doesn't happen very often.
Making the Myth Buster video and doing the photo shoot was really exciting and overwhelming.
I made friends with the other Myth Busters, like Andrew [Self – a dancer] and George [the actor and CBeebies presenter]. We chatted about all sorts of stuff.
I do feel like a role model. I love being out there for my personality and confidence.
People look up to me. I feel powerful and also inspirational.
I'm confident and living my best life
It’s easy to describe me! I’m cute, cheeky, a diva and a drama queen!
As a model, I never give up on myself.
You have to believe in yourself and not feel intimidated by the camera. Just go for it.
I love the hair, the make-up, the camera and the clothes.
It’s definitely hard work, and I have to sit and get my make-up done for a long time.
I can do my own make-up if I want to, but it can get messy.
When I’m not working, I love dancing.
I do hip hop, and I have confidence in it. I've got a show coming up next week so I'm doing rehearsals this weekend.
When I dance I feel calm, relaxed and powerful.
I’ve danced from when I was five years old, up until now.
It makes me feel fit and strong – I get sweaty all the time.
Doing my Adidas campaign was the best. I did four shoots with them.
I danced all over the place and the clothes were great.
I looked glamorous, fabulous and comfortable.
In my spare time I rehearse my dance routines, I go on my phone and watch TikToks.
I read books. I also play with my dog, Poppy.
I call my friends on my phone, and dance and sing.
I love Nandos and McDonald’s – at McDonald’s I get a chicken wrap with no salad, only mayo, chips and a milkshake.
I have a new nephew, Blake, too. He's five months old and he's really cute. I love him.
My big dream is to go to America. I want to be there and I want to do some shoots there.
What I really want is people with a learning disability to do whatever they want to do.
Be yourself and follow your dreams! Let's rock people!
For more information on The Myth Busters, visit: mencap.org.uk/mythbusters.
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