With her organization "Changing the Face of Beauty," Katie Driscoll proves that real change starts with one person with true passion and a great idea. That's why we're proud to name her a 2017 TODAY Style Hero.
When Katie Driscoll and her husband discovered that their sixth child, Grace, would be born with Down syndrome, they knew it would change their lives. But at that point, Driscoll had no idea how many other lives her family would impact and inspire.
It all started when Driscoll was shopping for clothes and noticed that there weren't many representations in the media of people who looked like her daughter. That's when she started the nonprofit "Changing the Face of Beauty."
The organization's mission is to promote imagery that offers equal representation of people with different abilities worldwide.
"Changing the Face of Beauty" started as an online campaign in 2015. Since its inception, Driscoll and her team have built out a full network of volunteers, photographers and corporate partners committed to the cause. They even helped put the first model with Down syndrome on a New York Fashion Week runway.
"I didn't have a lot of confidence (at first) and definitely would not have stepped out of my comfort zone to take on such a strong industry," Driscoll told TODAY. "But it's something about that momma bear in you ... when you realize this effects the future of your daughter."
Companies like Matilda Jane Clothing and The Land of Nod have begun including models of all ages and abilities in their catalogs and online shops, and it's no surprise customers are loving the innovative campaigns.
Allison Flatjord, the chief marketing officer at Matilda Jane Clothing, shared her experience with the company saying, "Any time we share an inclusive image in our marketing materials or on social media, the reaction we get from customers is just awe inspiring."
Driscoll's fight for equal representation has recently reached an even more personal level.
This spring, her daughter's smiling face will greet customers in thousands of Walgreens stores across the country. It's an accomplishment of which any parent would be glowingly proud — and a poignant reminder of just how powerful one woman can be.