Meet Riley Baxter, also known as ‘Smiley Riley’, he’s making waves and melting hearts with his adorable ,modelling job images for the Jools Oliver Little Bird range. The four-year-old, from Rochester, Kent, might have Down Syndrome but that’s never held him back.
Riley’s parents, Stuart and Kirsty, were worried the world would treat him unfairly, but after joining groups for support, They have been left happily surprised because it seems everyone adores Riley! And we can see why!
Riley joined Zebedee Management after people suggested he try modelling. Not long after joining, Riley’s infamous smile landed him an awesome contract.
Stuart, a sales manager, said: “After we were told he had Down’s Syndrome, I cried – not for the case that I would love him any less, but just knowing how cruel the world can be.
“That was the first thing that went through my mind but obviously my perceptions were wrong – and wow, how wrong I was! There was the fear of the unknown and why this had happened to us, but if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have been upset at all.
“Riley is getting so much out of life and whenever he accomplishes something it seems that little bit extra special knowing how much harder he had to work for it.
“We have called him ‘Smiley Riley’ from a young age, because he makes people really happy, and seeing his smile gives people a pick-me-up on a bad day.
“Now he’s modelling with Zebedee, he loves the camera – you say pose and he will make this little pout followed by sticking his tongue out. In the photo-shoots they want the children to act natural and naturally he’s a very happy little boy, so it’s brilliant.
“He enjoys everything he does and does it all with a smile, whenever people see him, they don’t see his disability; just him smiling.”
Smiley Riley’s parents always had concerns he would be treated differently but have now seen the public give their little guy nothing but love and kindness.
Rileys dad, Stuart, says: “He goes to a mainstream school, and they all love him there. Whenever he goes to parties, he is always the centre of attention.
“At one party we turned up a bit late, there were 20 children sitting around a lady dressed as a fairy. I heard them say Riley’s name and then they all came running towards him. Their love for him is amazing.”
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