Seb’s not just any boy, he’s an M&S model

Echo: Little charmer – the picture that helped to persuade M&S to employ Seb as a catalogue model Little charmer – the picture that helped to persuade M&S to employ Seb as a catalogue model

A CAMPAIGNING mum has landed her son a modelling contract with Marks & Spencer – the first using a child with Down’s syndrome.

Caroline White, 39, and husband Simon, 36, have two children, Seb, four, and Dominic, two.

It wasn’t until Seb was in her arms as a newborn baby that they were told he had Down’s syndrome.

Their life turned out to be no different to any other family, but Caroline became fed up with seeing only “normal” children in advertising campaigns, particularly when shopping for Seb’s school uniform.

So she posted on M&S’s Facebook page, telling the retail giant all about her wonderful little boy.

Caroline wrote: “Seb has striking, unusual features, charms the pants off everyone he meets and his little face is full of magic and mischief.

“So, here’s the thing. He also happens to have Down’s syndrome.

“My heartfelt plight is to get him ‘out there’ and get the message across that different isn’t any less wonderful – or even that different “I also think using him could help create a truly original, bold and memorable campaign, which would fit perfectly with M&S’s family values.”

The response from other Facebook users was massive and marketing bosses at the company got in touch with her. Seb, who started school this month and has previously modelled for JoJo Maman Bebe, has now done a photoshoot for M&S’s Christmas catalogue.

Seb’s grandparents, Michael and Christine Playle, of Parkstone Drive, Southend, are incredibly proud.

Mrs Playle, 66, said: “This will do wonders for her cause. She has always campaigned on this issue.

“Seb is a fantastic little boy, the light of our life. We don’t see his Down’s syndrome, he’s just Seb.”

Ex-Westcliff High School for Girls pupil Caroline, who now lives in Bath, said: “When Seb was born, I vividly remember seeing lots of ads with hundreds of beautifully perfect kids in them and it just added to my sense of isolation and difference.”

She said she hoped her son’s inclusion in the catalogue would help change attitudes towards Down’s syndrome.

She added: “The biggest thing I hope for is that someone will see that we lead a really typical family life.”

Comments (6)

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12:42pm Tue 25 Sep 12

perini says...

She added: “The biggest thing I hope for is that someone will see that we lead a really typical family life.”

So no different to any other kid then!!! Seems a bit contradictory - you want his plight out in the open but also want to live a 'normal' life... so your point is what exactly?
She added: “The biggest thing I hope for is that someone will see that we lead a really typical family life.” So no different to any other kid then!!! Seems a bit contradictory - you want his plight out in the open but also want to live a 'normal' life... so your point is what exactly? perini

4:07pm Tue 25 Sep 12

Nobblyknees says...

What a gorgeous little boy. I look forward to seeing the ads that he's in. Good luck to him and his family.
What a gorgeous little boy. I look forward to seeing the ads that he's in. Good luck to him and his family. Nobblyknees

7:31pm Tue 25 Sep 12

bob7 says...

They were talking about this on LBC radio the other day and there were plenty of positive comments being made. As long as he is happy doing it, good luck to the lad.
They were talking about this on LBC radio the other day and there were plenty of positive comments being made. As long as he is happy doing it, good luck to the lad. bob7

9:04pm Tue 25 Sep 12

lucy10 says...

WELL DONE GOOD LUCK TO YOU ALL
WELL DONE GOOD LUCK TO YOU ALL lucy10

9:53am Wed 26 Sep 12

heartbeat says...

I think it's great that your son will be used to help "normalise" seeing kids who have disabilities and differences used in advertising. It's absolutely ridiculous that we are normally only ever presented with images of "perfect" smiley kids (and adults) in adverts. How shallow and stupid do advertisers think we are? It makes me want to vomit, to be honest! Do they think we wont buy stuff if those kind of perfect models aren't used? It would have the opposite effect for me because I admire any company who is brave enough not to follow the crowd but treat consumers as individuals with enough brain capacity themselves accept that the world doesnt consist entirely of beautiful and physically perfect people.

Your son looks a lovely little boy, good luck to you all.
I think it's great that your son will be used to help "normalise" seeing kids who have disabilities and differences used in advertising. It's absolutely ridiculous that we are normally only ever presented with images of "perfect" smiley kids (and adults) in adverts. How shallow and stupid do advertisers think we are? It makes me want to vomit, to be honest! Do they think we wont buy stuff if those kind of perfect models aren't used? It would have the opposite effect for me because I admire any company who is brave enough not to follow the crowd but treat consumers as individuals with enough brain capacity themselves accept that the world doesnt consist entirely of beautiful and physically perfect people. Your son looks a lovely little boy, good luck to you all. heartbeat

1:07pm Sat 29 Sep 12

carlypants says...

Thanks for all your positive comments.

Perini, hello i am seb's mum.

I hear your point but sadly we are so far away from this and the whole reason for this campaign is to RAISE AWARENESS - something which cannot be done quietly. He was treated as any other in the shoot and was not singled out. it is ground breaking that M&S used him and it needs to be shouted about. They didnt put a giant arrow above his hear or put him on a different page. In fact M&S did not do any press releases on this story, the local paper in Bath follow my FB page and picked up on it and it has snowballed from there.

The biggest motivator for me is for people to see we lead an ordinary life, no different to any other, particularly families going through the same thing. When he was born i was devastated - i now know this was unnecessary and a fear of the unknown.

A few people have commented 'of course they have used him he doesnt look like he has Downs' - and thats the WHOLE POINT. i am trying to bust the stereotype that all kids with DS look the same. The dont. They are individuals and whilst they share characteristics they look more like their families than each other and their personalities reflect their upbringing. Mine just happens to be cute and good at dancing because he takes after his mum!
Thanks for all your positive comments. Perini, hello i am seb's mum. I hear your point but sadly we are so far away from this and the whole reason for this campaign is to RAISE AWARENESS - something which cannot be done quietly. He was treated as any other in the shoot and was not singled out. it is ground breaking that M&S used him and it needs to be shouted about. They didnt put a giant arrow above his hear or put him on a different page. In fact M&S did not do any press releases on this story, the local paper in Bath follow my FB page and picked up on it and it has snowballed from there. The biggest motivator for me is for people to see we lead an ordinary life, no different to any other, particularly families going through the same thing. When he was born i was devastated - i now know this was unnecessary and a fear of the unknown. A few people have commented 'of course they have used him he doesnt look like he has Downs' - and thats the WHOLE POINT. i am trying to bust the stereotype that all kids with DS look the same. The dont. They are individuals and whilst they share characteristics they look more like their families than each other and their personalities reflect their upbringing. Mine just happens to be cute and good at dancing because he takes after his mum! carlypants

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