In blog

Cross posted from the Culture Vulture.

Poppy and Harvey Urban Angels

From This is

A top children’s modelling agency has signed two youngsters from Derbyshire with Down’s Syndrome as part of a campaign designed to break down barriers.

Seven-year-old Harvey Simpson and three-year-old Poppy Maynard are now on the books of London agency Urban Angels.

Models from the firm have previously graced the pages of Vogue Bambini – an Italian magazine focused on kids’ fashions.

It is hoped Harvey and Poppy will prove to be a big hit with clients. Companies have already said they would like to use the pair.

The agency’s founder, Alysia Lewis, said both Harvey and Poppy were signed as part of the firm’s Breaking Down Barriers campaign – launched to encourage the industry to use more diverse models.

Alysia said: “I’m extremely excited about Poppy coming on board, she’s absolutely delightful and Harvey was just so adorable and full of joy from the moment I saw him. From a professional point of view he photographs beautifully.”

The campaign was born out of Alysia’s frustration at the lack of models who have any form of disability.

She added: “It’s not campaigning for campaigning sake, after all, the children have fun, the mothers feel proud, and very importantly the average consumer gets to see the true nature of our diverse society.”

Harvey was discovered when he entered the Next/Urban Angels Model competition and was chosen as a winner by Alysia, who started the agency in 2003.

Harvey’s mum Lisa Simpson, 34, of Brookfield Way, Heanor, is extremely proud of her son’s success.

She said: “Our kids are just as gorgeous as everybody else’s. Harvey absolutely loves it. He’s a cheeky monkey, and he plays up in front of the camera, but the photographers are great at catching him at just the right moment.”

After hearing about Harvey’s success, Poppy’s mother Philippa Maynard, of Gladstone Street, Normanton, sent photos of her daughter to the agency and Poppy was signed up.

Philippa, 44, said: “It’s early days yet, but we are hopeful that Poppy will get lots of work.

“Kids with special needs need to be included in the media positively. Our kids need to be represented.”

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