Life

By Niamh Shackleton


A five-year-old with Down’s Syndrome has taken the modelling world by storm after posing as a Christmas bauble.

Little Frankie Porter first started modelling nine months ago and has since featured in huge campaigns with Marks and Spencer, Jeans for Genes as well as starring in this years Sainsbury’s Christmas advert.

Pic by Aaron Cheeseman/Caters News 

Frankie’s parents, Vicky Porter, 43, and Adam Goswell, 38, signed their son up to a modelling agency after hearing about Zebedee Management – who exclusively represent people will a range of disabilities.

And they couldn’t be more proud of his success, with three shoots for big brands so far, Frankie’s modelling success is set to continue.

His most recent shoot, which was to be a bauble in the Sainsbury’s festive advert, has gone viral.

Vicky, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, said: “I took him for a photoshoot in March this year just to see if he liked it and he took to it like a duck to water and really enjoyed it.

“Frankie had always enjoyed having his picture taken but I was so proud of him after his first shoot.

Pic by Aaron Cheeseman/Caters News

“He takes direction really well despite the fact he uses Makaton – a language programme that uses signs and symbols – as a form of communication as he struggles sometimes.

“People are always surprised that he’s relatively new to it all, he will happily sit and pose for hours as the photographer takes his picture.

“We put together a portfolio for him and we haven’t looked back since, he has been so popular.

“His school shares his news in their newsletters and on their social media pages – it’s like he’s a little celebrity.”

The most exciting moment in Frankie’s modelling career so far is appearing as a Christmas tree bauble in the popular Sainsbury’s Christmas advert.

Pic by Aaron Cheeseman/Caters News 

Vicky added: “We had to go to London for a couple of weeks for the rehearsals and filming of the advert after Frankie got to the final few chosen.

“There was a lot of waiting around which I was concerned about because, as well as Frankie’s Downs Syndrome, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in March of this year.

“Despite all this, Frankie was fine – he’s so laid back about most things.

“He is so adorable in the advert, his little cheer at the end is priceless.”

Vicky was over the moon when Frankie was given a space in the advert and explained how proud of him she is.

Back in 2013, Frankie was born four weeks premature and his Down Syndrome diagnosis came as a shock to the family.

Vicky – who has three other children, Corey, 23, Millie, 20, and Charlie, nine – wasn’t told during her pregnancy with Frankie that there was anything wrong.

The full time mum and carer for Frankie, said: “I was really worried at first about Frankie’s condition, particularly on how his older siblings would react.

Pic by Caters News 

“I soon realised they just took it as it was and weren’t phased by it – Frankie, is just Frankie.

Last year, River Island were praised for their use of models with disabilities in their campaigns showing more diversity in the clothing industry.

Vicky said: “When Frankie was first born, you didn’t see anyone like him with a disability in the media or on the high street.

“It’s mad to think how much time can change for the better in just five years.”

In terms of Frankie’s ever growing modelling career, Vicky added: “As long as he is enjoying it, I’ll keep doing it.

“He’s always super excited to go – he particularly enjoys staying over in nice hotels and getting the train to different places.

“We love Frankie being able to do what he loves – we don’t let Down Syndrome or the diabetes define him as they’re only a small part of Frankie.

“He is a very able boy and we choose to focus on his abilities rather than disability – a lot of people can underestimate children with disabilities.”

“Zebedee has given him a chance to shine for which we are really grateful. They are inspirational.”

Frankie is managed by Zebedee Management which exclusively represents models with ‘disabilities and differences’.

The modelling agency was created by Laura Johnson, 35, and Zoe Proctor, 43, 18 months ago after noticing a gap in the market.

Laura, co director, added: “Frankie is an absolute superstar and definitely has that star quality.

“We’re so pleased he joined us – he’s constantly smiling and has so much character.

“We had no idea how the agency would go but we wanted to see some change and equality in the modelling business.

“Luckily it’s gone really well and it continues to grow – in the first year we had 100 bookings but in the last few months alone we’ve had over 400.”