Mitchells Plain-born Shumeez Scott (18) is inspiring people everywhere with her determination to reach her dreams despite her having Down syndrome. Scott recently landed a lifetime contract with Ace Model Agency in Cape Town and has won two national and international beauty pageant titles.
The model and beauty queen considers herself a Down syndrome activist and is proving to everyone, everywhere that if you can dream it, you can achieve it.
She aspires to embrace the strength, ambitions, character and accomplishments of all young women with special needs through everything she does.
“If you have a dream then live it, don’t let your disability stop you and parents stop hiding your kids let them come out and live their dreams.” says Scott.
Scott won the national Miss DS Ribbons4Roses SA 2017 for kids with Down syndrome as well as the Miss MWI Phenomenal SA 2018/2019, and will be going to Nigeria on the 26th November to be crowned Miss MWI Phenomenal International 2018/2019. She will be heading to Las Vegas next year to crown the next winner of her current title.
“I am so proud of my daughter as she [is] standing up as a true ambassador to … change the mindset of society. [It] show[s] that there is not much of a difference between a child with special needs [and] a child [without] because they also have dreams and if they get the support they need, they can live it,” says Scott’s mother, Bahia Janodien.
Scott won her lifetime contract at a modelling show organised for children with Down syndrome in Athlone, which saw 23 aspiring models taking to the catwalk.
The show was the first to feature children with Down syndrome as models and was labelled ‘groundbreaking’.
“Shumeez is a person [who] loves the limelight but also loves giving back to [the] less fortunate. She is a loving and caring person … she is not shy to say what is on her mind, she is a free-spirited person. I will support her every step of the way to make sure she lives her dream,” says Janodien.
Scott plans to continue modelling and working towards her dream of opening a salon and foundation centre, where she plans to teach modelling and help children with special needs develop skills in the beauty industry.
The model is fighting to alter the mentality of clothing companies and magazines to include more children and people with Down syndrome in their advertising.
“Shumeez was the first person with Down syndrome [to do] a Mr Price fashion show at Canal Walk, [posing as]a mannequin in [the] windows, but sadly nothing come from that … [T]hat is not stopping Shumeez from fighting to make it possible to show they can be top models as well,” says Janodien.
For many, Scott represents the unfaltering spirit of young people and those who live with disabilities – one driven to bring about positive change.