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18th Sep 2023

‘Nurses said my parents should ‘leave me’ at the hospital – now I’m on the cover of Vogue’

Charlie Herbert

Ellie Goldstein

Doctors warned Ellie’s parents she may ‘never walk or talk’

A model with Down’s Syndrome who made history by appearing on the cover of Vogue earlier this year has spoken about how she’s battled the odds her entire life.

This year, Ellie Goldstein became the first model with Down’s Syndrome to appear on the cover of the famous fashion magazine, featuring on the May edition.

This came after she had featured in major campaigns for Gucci, Elle, Adidas and Boots.

And the 21-year was recently hired by Barbie to help promote its first doll with Down Syndrome.

But ever since she was born in December 2001, Ellie has had to battle the odds.

Doctors had told her parents that she would “never walk or talk”, and one nurse even suggested that her parents might want to “leave her” at the hospital.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Ellie said: “Now I’m a model, an author, a student and a homeowner.. I’d like to tell that to the doctor who said I’d never walk or talk!”

Scans before her birth hadn’t picked up any signs that Ellie had Down’s Syndrome or any abnormalities.

But when she was born she required life-saving surgery because of heart problems and had to be delivered by Caesarean section.

Her mum, Yvonne, admitted that the first few weeks following Ellie’s birth were a struggle as her and Ellie’s dad, Mark, came to terms with her diagnosis.

Yvonne told the Mail: “The way they [the medics] handled it, that we might want to give her up, made me nervous about getting close to Ellie.”

She recalled a nurse telling her: “Do you want to leave her here? That’s what the last mum with one of these did”, adding that this all led to her struggling to bond with her daughter.

But Ellie’s parents never considered not keeping their daughter, explaining that they could “see, within a few weeks, that she was bright, cheeky and determined.” So, they brought her up as “Ellie first and put the fact she’s got Down’s syndrome aside as much as possible.”

Ellie and her mum Yvonne (Getty)

Now, they couldn’t be prouder of her and the career she has forged for herself, jetting across the globe for photoshoots and campaigns with some of the biggest brands in the world.

Speaking about her career, Ellie said: “I’ve done so much modelling and I love it.

“They send cars to collect me, give me cooked breakfasts, and there are teams of people to do my hair and make-up and pick lovely clothes for me.

“And I adored doing the Barbie job — it was great to finally see a doll that looked like me.”

Her mum said: “Of course, Ellie is special to us but it’s wonderful that the rest of the world can now see how amazing she is, too. She’s proof that people who have difficulties are capable of so much more than some might think.”

You can read the Mail’s full interview with Ellie and her mum click here.

Related links:

Netflix called out for name of new dating show about people with Down syndrome