2 Down Syndrome of Louisville members take the runway at KDF Spring Fashion Show | News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Two members of Down Syndrome of Louisville took the runway at the Kentucky Derby Festival Spring Fashion Show at Caesars Southern Indiana on Thursday.

Bridget Matsen was chosen as the show’s makeover recipient after being nominated by Down Syndrome of Louisville because of her dedicated contributions to the organization. The 23-year-old got a manicure and pedicure, a facial from J. Michael’s Spa, a wardrobe fitting at Macy’s Oxmoor and hair and makeup styling before walking the runway. 

“It’s nice to be in the fashion show,” Matsen said. “I came with my family. It’s kind of nice. It was nice to have my makeup done.”

On top of the makeover, Masten walked first in the show full of professional models but she said she wasn’t that nervous.

“We always make sure that we really show, we want the people on stage to reflect everyone that’s in the audience,” said Brian Walters, a KDF board member.

From Oaks-inspired dresses to the classic Derby hats provided by The Hat Girls, there was something for everyone. 

“So much color and excitement, so it is about everything,” Walters said.

Influenced by the lights, the attention and the love, modeling is something Masten wants to pursue full-time. Whether that’s runway or fashion, she said with this kind of support, nothing is holding her back.

Madeline Franklin was also cast as a runway model after a general casting call hosted by Heyman Talent and KDF. The 21-year-old says she loves her looks for the show and is excited to show them off. Madeline enjoys performing with the Miracle dancers and participates in Special Olympics in Oldham County, where she plays basketball and swims. She also works in retail and attends the University of Louisville’s Providing Access to Community Transition (PACT) program.

“We are overjoyed to see the Kentucky Derby Festival’s wonderful inclusion efforts in their spring fashion show this year,” Julie Torzewski, executive director of Down Syndrome of Louisville, said in a news release. “Our members are so excited to be involved in this show and celebrate the Kentucky Derby season. Thank you to KDF for embracing our members and giving them the confidence that they can do anything that others can do.”

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