By achieving her goals and coming to notoriety, Chelsea Werner, who competed as a gymnast in the past but now works as a model, is helping to debunk misunderstandings about individuals who have a variety of skills.
Chelsea was born with Down syndrome, a common genetic disease that causes intellectual and cognitive disabilities. This illness is passed down from parent to child. The Werners, Chelsea’s parents, Ray and Lisa, were warned by physicians that their daughter would have poor muscle tone and would have difficulty participating in any kind of physical activity. After some disappointing results with soccer, Chelsea’s parents decided to enroll her in gymnastics so she may continue to build her physical strength.
Lisa asserts, “At the beginning, we did not have any expectations. When we go back on her younger years, she didn’t really show all that much potential; nevertheless, once we began working with a coach, she was treated the same as the other gymnasts and put in the proper amount of practice time. This allowed her to eventually become successful. We were astounded at how rapidly she began to make progress at each and every stage of the process. Simply said, we were completely unaware that she would pursue it to the amount that she has.
According to Chelsea’s gymnastics instructor, Dawn Pombo, Chelsea’s early skill was not very impressive. She fought to walk one way and back on the balancing beam despite the fact that her physical constraints prevented her from doing so while she was tremendously happy. The issue of strength initially posed some difficulty. To phrase it another way, her muscles lacked tone.
Because Chelsea was such an eager student, Dawn set a challenge for her to do things that were outside of her comfort zone. She started doing back handsprings very immediately, and she also improved quickly on the floor and the balance beam.
In 2006, the Northern California Special Olympics Committee decided to end its gymnastics program, and this presented Chelsea with a new challenge. The family is obligated to provide funding in some form or another to pay Chelsea’s training and travel costs. Unfazed, Ray formed Chelsea’s Quest, a charity organization that aided with fund-raising and made it possible for Chelsea to compete in Special Olympics contests as a member of a one-person team. Chelsea’s participation in the Special Olympics was a highlight of Ray’s life.
She routinely came in last place over the course of three years, but Chelsea didn’t care about that fact. It was at that time that she had an aha moment and grasped what the lower score really indicated. That was the beginning of a brand-new process that instructed her that if this was what she wanted to achieve, then she needed to put in more effort if she wanted to succeed.
Chelsea began her training like any other gymnast, putting in a lot of hours, and she saw results almost immediately. In addition to winning several national competitions, she took first place in the World Championships held by the International Down Syndrome Foundation. At addition to that, she was a special guest competitor in the women’s gymnastics championships hosted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). After having trouble staying upright on the balancing beam during earlier stages of the competition, the girl achieved a level that many people thought was impossible to achieve.
This self-assurance and dogged determination is exactly what Chelsea is bringing to the fashion business at the moment. She was turned down by a few modeling companies at first, but she would not give up and pursue her dream. According to the several modeling agencies that I spoke with, there is currently no need in the market for models who have Down syndrome. My parents and I are the kind of people that never give up. I’m demonstrating to them that there is a market for this!
We Speak did ultimately find Chelsea on social media and made contact with her after making the discovery. We Speak promotes body positivity and diversity by selecting models from a diverse range of backgrounds who are beautiful, healthy, and have upbeat attitudes as well as unique physical characteristics. She works in the fashion industry with other models who have Down syndrome to foster an inclusive environment, and she continues to pioneer the path for individuals of many abilities and backgrounds.
“In my opinion, there is not a sufficient amount of representation of persons who have Down syndrome. The more that we are represented, the more people will become aware of the potential that we have.
Chelsea said that when others see her compete in gymnastics or modeling, it might motivate them to feel that they are capable of doing the same things. I often hear from parents who remark that I give them hope for their challenged children, and I find that to be quite rewarding.
Since that time, she has appeared in advertisements for retailers such as H&M, Adidas, and Tommy Hilfiger, and she has also walked the runway during New York Fashion Week. If you put your whole heart and soul into anything, you can do anything. Chelsea is the ideal rule-breaker when it comes to both athletics and fashion, and she shows us that.