Meagan Nash is on a mission to make advertising more inclusive, and her 15-month-old son Asher is helping her.
Nash has been submitting photos of Asher, who has Down syndrome, to a local modeling agency in Georgia called C2 Kids in an attempt to get him featured in ad campaigns for various companies.
In a post she shared on the Changing the Face of Beauty Facebook page, she included three photos of the very photogenic Asher and noted that she’s faced “heartache” in the talent industry.
“A lot needs to change in the advertisement world and people need to realize that babies, children and adults with disabilities deserve to be in advertisements just as much as a typical person does,” Nash told The Huffington Post.
An exchange this summer with C2 Kids helped prompt Nash’s post. Through email, the mom followed up with the owner of the kids’ modeling agency to follow up about a casting for Asher for Carter’s, Inc. According to emails between Nash and the owner, after Nash asked about the casting, the agency owner told her she had not submitted Asher because the company “didn’t specify special needs.” Nash was confused.
“My first thought was how in the world does she know they don’t want a child with a disability if they haven’t even see his picture?” she told HuffPost.
After Nash pointed out why it was wrong not to submit her son in an understanding email exchange, the owner saw the mom’s perspective and agreed that she should submit Asher for the casting. She has also assured Nash she has continued submitting him for other castings.
Since that incident, Nash has been pushing even harder for more representation in advertising. Her original post for Changing the Face of Beauty has been posted on other Facebook pages, including Kids with Down Syndrome, where it has been shared more than 98,000 times.
In her original post, Nash wrote that her son would love to model for OshKosh B’Gosh, whose parent company is Carter’s, Inc., and called for more inclusion.
“I was hoping by posting the picture and calling out OshKosh ... that it just might get enough attention to change the world’s view on people with disabilities and spread awareness about this issue,” Nash said. “I want people to know they are not just a trend that comes and goes in advertisement, they are here to stay.”
Nash told HuffPost that an employee from Carter’s, Inc.’s marketing department has contacted her since Asher’s photos went viral.
“I went over everything from the beginning and she said that OshKosh strives to have diversity in their ads and that they would be working toward changing the way their ads are so that they use babies and children with disabilities in the future,” Nash said about their conversation.
An OshKosh B’Gosh corporate spokesperson confirmed the company has been in touch with Nash and said they are looking forward to meeting with her and Asher.
OshKosh B’Gosh appreciates the importance of representing the diversity of our customers in our advertising. Since we became aware of Ms. Nash’s request, our team has reached out to her directly to better understand her perspective and provide additional information about our casting process. We agree there is an opportunity for greater representation of children with special needs in advertising. We look forward to meeting with Asher and his family, as well as taking steps to enhance the representation of diverse children in our marketing.
Nash told HuffPost she plans on visiting next week. Until then, she has no intention of stopping her mission to make advertising more diverse.
“I want people to realize that all children with Down syndrome and other disabilities are incredible human beings, and we want OshKosh to ideally want to help change the world’s perception,” she said. “So many other companies have started doing it so it’s really just a matter of when will they?”
The Huffington Post reached out to the owner of C2 Kids for comment and did not hear back.