A tv personality, public speaker, artist, and entrepreneur, Megan Bomgaars is a leader in the Down syndrome community. The 26-year-old stars on A&E’s reality television show Born This Way, which features 7 adults with Down syndrome navigating through life in pursuit of their dreams. To date, the show has several awards, including three Emmy Awards and two Critics’ Choice Real TV Awards. Megan was recognized by the A&E producers while giving a keynote presentation at the NDSC Annual Convention in 2015 and invited to participate in the show.
Clarissa has been a Global Ambassador since 2015. She lives in Englewood, where she attends middle school in an inclusive learning environment with her typical peers. Clarissa will turn 12 this October! A survivor of heart surgery, Clarissa now thrives in life as a happy, curious, and opinionated young woman. Her favorite hobbies are swimming, gymnastics, basketball, SHOPPING, and singing karaoke. In the future, she plans to join the high school swim team and get a college degree, just like her two older brothers Alec and Jessey. Oh yeah, and Clarissa LOVES modeling and being part of Global!
Derek is 37 years old and lives in Trinidad, Colorado. He is the oldest child in his family and a proud Uncle who loves spending time with his nieces and nephews. Derek is an active participant in his local church and a dedicated Denver Broncos fan. He is a lifelong WWE fan, with dreams of meeting Hulk Hogan, The Rock, and John Cena! Derek loves blues music and he volunteers for the Trinidaddio Blues Fest every year! He worked in his family’s dry-cleaning business for many years and now considers himself “semi-retired.”
Bert lives in Olney, Maryland with his mom, dad, and an adorable black Labrador named Ranga. He is the family sous chef, always lending a hand in the kitchen and finding new recipes from “Food Network” magazine. His outgoing personality, humor, and genuine warmth for others makes him a favorite and memorable individual wherever he goes. Bert just celebrated his milestone 40th birthday with his friends and family. An avid WWE fan, Bert has several signature poses of his own, sure to make an appearance on the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Runway!
Cadence is a 15-year-old sophomore at Heritage High School in Littleton, Colorado and is very active in his community. He plays on the high school unified basketball team, dances on the Peak Athletics Stars Dance Team, swims in the Foothills Adaptive Swim program, and enjoys spending his summer days at Camp Paha. He loves going to the Zoo and the Aquarium with friends, and he especially loves to eat! Cadence loves to travel and spend time with his family, especially his big sister Skyler and his German shepherd Jovi.
DeOndra is the inaugural Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award recipient and has been a Global Ambassador since 2011. She lives in California with her brother, the award-winning actor and musician Jamie Foxx. DeOndra is very grateful how her family helped her reach her potential and is eager to help others with Down syndrome do the same. She travels around the U.S. and the world representing Global and people with Down syndrome at conferences and events. An excellent dancer, DeOndra has busted out her dance moves on national TV and even the Grammys, so watch out when she hits Global’s runway!
Archie was born in Bulgaria and was adopted by his family when he was 7 years old. He is now 15 years old and lives in Houston, Texas. Archie loves spending time with his family and he is an amazing brother to his three siblings: Ace, Radko, and Sevy, who also has Down syndrome. His hobbies include swimming, dancing, singing, and modeling. Archie is a fierce self-advocate and loves talking to everyone he meets about his extra chromosome and how awesome it makes him.
Sevy is 15 years old and lives in Houston, Texas. She was born in Bulgaria and adopted by her family when she was 12. She loves swimming, dancing, and spending time with her three siblings: Ace, Radko, and Archie, who also has Down syndrome. Although Sevy is non-verbal, she has found self-expression and passion in art. As a talented artist, her fanbase expands across the world and her artwork is collected internationally.
Charlotte or “Charley” is the 2019 Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show Ambassador. She has a large extended family and lives in Annapolis, Maryland with her mom and younger sister Noelle. Charley is a caring and responsible 16-year-old who loves to help others. In the future, Charley hopes to attend college and appear on “Dancing with the Stars.” Charley is an experienced model, from doing Target ads as a child to modeling in Global’s fashion show. Spot her on the cover of Global’s latest issue of Down Syndrome World magazine, posing with award-winning Irish actor Colin Farrell!
Courtney Gaines is a 16-year-old social butterfly on the move. Born the youngest to DeAnna and the late Lafayette Gaines Sr, Courtney has phenomenal family support. She is an active member of her community in Oklahoma as part of the Greater Love Missionary Baptist Church, Shining Starz Special Needs Cheer Squad, Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma, and Special Olympics. Courtney is a cadet in Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at Choctaw High School and a special needs Ambassador for Girls Trek, a public health nonprofit for African-American women. Recently in the stage production of Mary Poppins Jr. with Kaleidoscope, Courtney is no stranger to the spotlight.
Piper is 10 years old and lives in Arvada, Colorado with her family. The oldest of three, she idolizes her sister and pesters her brother. Sometimes a blur of motion, Piper’s enthusiasm for life can be heard in her contagious laugh. In school, her favorite subjects are math and art. After a long day of academia, she loves to unwind with ballet. She’s oh-so-thankful for Global’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself ballet dance class; asking about the recital on the first day. Her dance friends are some of her best friends! Piper may be ornery, but she always loves ferociously!
Lacey was born in Boulder, Colorado 30 years ago. Versatility describes her. She’s a big fan of Christian and country music and she loves to play sports. Lacey is a gold medalist in golf, swimming, bowling, and basketball. The Denver Broncos and CU Buffaloes are her favorite teams, especially working with them during Global’s Dare to Play Football & Cheer camps. Lacey is very close with her Dad, Mom, Nana, Mima, 1 sister, 2 brothers, and 6 nieces and nephews. She volunteers at her local church to care for children with special needs. A fashionista, Lacey is thrilled to model for Global.
Jacob is 9 years old and lives in Westminster, Colorado. He is a witty, fun-loving boy, constantly making everyone around him laugh and smile. Jacob loves to embrace everyone with his hugs. He is a great big brother who is very protective of his younger sister. They love to act out their favorite TV shows. Jacob’s favorite show is Peter Pan, he loves to be Captain Hook. You can find Jacob singing and dancing around the house to his favorite singer “The Madfanatic”. Jacob is a huge Denver Broncos fan, who enjoys tailgating on game day with his family.
Angelina traveled all the way from India to be part of Global’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show. At just 10 years old, Angelina already dreams of becoming a natural scientist in the future. The 6th grader has won various school competitions. She was selected for a dress competition in the concept of “Save the Trees” and another for “Safe Forest”, where she won prize. In the UK, she won a photography competition for her piece titled “I am rare, protect me.” Her hobbies include photography, craft-making, dancing, and singing. She is always looking to expand her interests – currently learning how to play drums and keyboard and taking karate lessons.
Allison or “Ally” is a 16-year-old athlete and natural Down syndrome activist who lives in Katy, Texas. Ally is a sophomore in high school, where she participates on the Spartanaires dance team and the Best Buddies club. She competes in the Special Olympics in gymnastics, swimming and soccer. She also loves to surf in Florida, where she was born, and to ski in Colorado. Ally actively volunteers with the National Charity League, a mother-daughter national nonprofit committed to community service. Ally plans to attend college and live life on her own terms while demonstrating the potential of people with Down syndrome.
Ethan is a charming, funny 14-year-old who lives in Longmont, Colorado. He is an active 8th-grader who loves basketball, baseball, swimming, and most of all – ice hockey. Last year, Ethan even attended an international ice hockey tournament in Toronto, Canada. He loves playing mini hockey at home with his older brother and sister. Ethan recently visited his siblings in college in North Dakota and he hopes to attend college someday. Ethan loves food, his favorites are hamburgers, fries and cheesecake. He often talks about his desire to work in a restaurant when he is older.
Letizia, from a family of Italian origins, was born and raised in London. The 16-year-old speaks Italian and English fluently, and fully understands Portuguese. She is an energetic, enthusiastic young lady with high self-confidence and a tremendous sense of humor. Letizia is an experienced swimmer and earned a brown belt in Karate. She also enjoys playing tennis, waterskiing, alpine skiing, and horseback riding. She attends the Arts Educational Schools in London led by Andrew Lloyd Webber, where she studies acting, dancing, singing and performing arts. Performing in front of big audiences comes naturally to Letizia!
Kristina is an energetic 14-year-old who lives life to the fullest! She is in the 8th grade at West Middle School in Centennial, Colorado. Kristina loves spending time with her family, especially her 12-year-old sister Ally and her dogs Sam and Bella. She enjoys music, ballet, drama, gymnastics, swimming, and being in the mountains. At Kristina’s core, she loves to dance. Whether it’s through Global’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself ballet dance class or Dare to Cheer camps, she will dance like no one’s watching or for a crowd, fully embracing the moment!
Ashton lives in Lakewood, Colorado and is part of an inclusive 3rd grade class. He is affectionate, social, smart, and always on the go. At just 9 years old, Ashton has unfortunately had many medical challenges, but nothing holds this guy down for long. Ashton’s older sister Madison is his biggest advocate, and his little brother Owen, his greatest motivator. He enjoys participating in Global’s Soccer and Football camps, the Special Olympics, Special Angels dance, and the Denver Sharks swim team. Ashton loves to be in the spotlight and can’t wait to rock Global’s runway!
Alexandra or “Alex” is 21 years old and lives in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado. She wakes up every morning happy and delighted, asking “where are we going?” She loves her sports activities including Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s Dare to Cheer camp with the Junior Bronco Cheerleaders, Peak Stars Dance, Unified basketball, and lacrosse. Alex loves planning her outfits with a theme of the day. Whether it’s camping at Roundup River Ranch, training at Easter Seals Rocky Mountain Village, or sailing with the NSCD at Grand Lake, Alex is always ready for action.
Thomas or “Walt” is 16 years old and lives in Omaha, Nebraska. Walt is in his freshman year of highschool enjoying playing percussions in his school band, cheering as a “Sparkler” and running track in the Spring time. Walt also enjoys playing basketball, swimming and volleyball. He loves boating/tubing in Lake Okoboji and traveling with family members to interesting locations. His zest for life, infectious laugh, happy demeanor, and compassion for others endears him to everyone he encounters!
Karlena is 10 years old and lives just outside Washington, D.C. She is an independent and strong-willed 4th grader who enjoys performing, music, dance, swimming, and gymnastics. Karlena is grateful for the opportunities she’s had, including presenting Pope Francis with flowers and dancing with former President and First Lady, Barack and Michelle Obama. Karlena loves her family and is her older brother’s biggest cheerleader. The youngest of over 50 grandchildren, her late aunt said “God saved the best for last” with Karlena.