Sunday, September 22, 2013
Karrie Brown has all the makings of a model: energy, enthusiasm and a smile that could melt stains off your sleeves.
But it wasn't just those qualities that won the 17-year-old with Down syndrome a modeling gig with girls' fashion label Wet Seal. It was actually Karrie's mother, Sue, who posted photos of her daughter wearing the label's Plus line on a Facebook page she set up that helped make Karrie's modeling dream come true.
Every day Sue would post a picture of Karrie in her favorite Wet Seal outfits -- pieces that Karrie said make her "fit in while standing out" -- hoping that they would attract the company's eye.
It wasn't long before they did. The company first noticed the Facebook page after receiving a handful of requests via social media telling them about Karrie's desire to model for the company.
"She immediately caught our attention," Wet Seal's Yasmin Ezaby told ABC News. "We then asked our fans to get Karrie's Facebook page to 10k likes and we would give her the trip of a lifetime. She exceeded this goal in two days."
In fact, as of Saturday, the page is now up to nearly double that number of "likes."
Wet Seal honored its pledge and flew Karrie and Sue on an all-expenses paid trip from their home in Collinsville, Ill., to Los Angeles, throwing in a trip to Disneyland along the way.
Although Wet Seal runs an annual model search competition, it was the first time the company had done a special challenge focused on one individual.
Throughout the shoot on Aug. 30, Karrie was "full of energy," Ezaby said.
"She asked for Justin Bieber so she could sing and dance while shooting," she said. "It was loads of fun. She was a natural in front of the camera."
It came as a wonderful shock to Karrie's mother.
"She comes to life when the camera is on her," she told KMOV, "I was told by this geneticist to never expect anything from her."
Sue never listened, and is now helping her daughter reach her new goal: to dance on television with Ellen DeGeneres.
She did not immediately respond to ABC News' phone calls for further comment.
Karrie's special photo shoot is set to be released on Wet Seal's website and social channels in the coming weeks.