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Florida beachwear company hires model with special needs

It's a dream come true for this Tampa Bay teen.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — A Tampa Bay teen’s dreams are coming true after he landed a modeling gig with Surf Style, a beachwear company with a flagship store Clearwater Beach.

Ethan Holt,16,  will star in an ad campaign, modeling Surf Style apparel on Clearwater Beach. He will be the company’s first model with Down syndrome. The campaign is a partnership between a nonprofit organization called Help Us Gather and the beachwear company.

Ethan’s mom, Phoy Holt said her son comes up with his own dreams and they just support him. Modeling for the beach photoshoot came naturally.

“He was totally in his element. He loves the attention, the directions, he got so many compliments,” Phoy said.

Ethan showed 10News reporter Liz Crawford some of his poses including one he calls, “The Ethan.” It involves a hand under the chin and “a little duck lips.”

“It's so fun to be a model because everyone likes my pictures, my mom, my dad, my sister, my aunties, they love that. I'm ready to be a model," Ethan said. 

“Hiring models with disabilities is far from common practice in the advertising world today. Finding a  company that’s willing to show someone with special needs in their marketing has been an exceptional challenge, despite a CDC report showing 1 in 4 U.S. adults live with a disability,” Help Us Gather said.

You can find Ethan’s headshots and modeling profile here.

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