Meet Target Australia’s new model … Caleb Jordan!
Caleb loves to see himself “in print”. Whether he is on TV or featured on a poster or magazine, the 12 year-old from New South Wales loves being in front of the camera and in the spotlight. Perhaps it has something to do with growing up posing for one his sisters who studies photography or that a favourite activity for his large family is making home dance movies on the iPad.
For Caleb, who has Down syndrome, playing up for the camera also offers a form of communication and creative expression that suits him – in other words, he’s a “natural”. Although we all use multiple means to communicate with others, including speech, gestures, expressions, posture and demeanour, for many people with speech difficulties, the opportunity for non-speaking means of self-expression and communication is even more important.
While many of us feel awkward posing for photographs, Caleb’s mum, Julie, has enjoyed watching her usually quiet and reserved son visibly transform in front of the camera and the whole family were stunned when Caleb was invited to feature in a fashion parade for charity wearing Myer clothes – he walked the runway “like a boss”.
We are proud to have Caleb on board as an Ad Inclusion Ambassador for Starting with Julius, helping to present our message calling for equal representation of people with disability in advertising, media and beyond and the use of empowering and inclusive imagery and messages.
Today was a big deal for ad inclusion in Australia and an even bigger one for Caleb who features in the latest Target Australia catalogue. While it is not the first time that Target Australia has featured models with disability, it is the first time in a long time and we hope that it represents a significant step for the brand in adopting inclusive advertising as standard practice.
So why is inclusion in advertising important? Put simply, it both reflects and influences popular culture and values. Those things in turn provide the context in which formal rights and opportunities for people with disability play out, especially given our society’s long history of excluding and marginalizing “difference”. Attitudes need changing for social change to happen and until people with disability are welcomed as equal participants in mainstream culture, it is difficult to see an end to their exclusion from schools, workplaces, community and all other areas of life.
Caleb today has joined other people with disability who are claiming their right to participate and to do it in the public eye – and most important of all he is doing it in a way that makes him feel good and proud. And as the disability activist, Laura Hershey, wrote in a famous poem about people with disability developing pride in who they are in the face of persistent exclusion, “you get proud by practising”.
Good luck Caleb! … and keep up the good work Target Australia!
* Since this item was posted, Target Australia launched their 2016 Back To School campaign with this great television advertisement featuring a young model with disability