At just 24, Grace Stablebel is making a difference in the world through her work as an advocate for people with Down syndrome and embracing her beauty as a model.
“She’s been underappreciated since she was born,” the Missouri native said, recalling what doctors told Strobel’s parents about raising their daughter with Down syndrome.
“The doctors told my mom and dad that I was not going to achieve anything. I would never read or write, or even tie my own shoes,” Strobel said. “I’m here today to tell you that they were wrong.”
Fortunately, Stiebel’s parents have been their daughter’s biggest supporters, reminding her to “work hard, be strong, and Down syndrome doesn’t define me,” she said. Their words even helped her through some of the more difficult times in her life.
“About three years ago, some kids started making fun of me. When they made fun of me that day, I felt alone and resentful….I cried like hell,” recalls Strobel. “That’s when I decided I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to show how you can make a difference in someone’s life by being kind and giving respect.
With this mission in mind, Strobel created a program called The Grace Effect, where she travels to different schools to speak to students about living with Down syndrome. “It allows the kids to understand their own struggles,” she explained.
But her work at the school is just one part of Strobel’s efforts to educate others about Down syndrome, as she also aims to create representation through her modeling. To date, she has appeared in 15 magazines.
“I love modeling because it makes me feel good about myself and helps others believe in themselves,” she said.
Ultimately, believing in yourself has gotten Strobel to where he is today.
“Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t achieve. Push those boundaries and live,” she says.
Strobel added. “I think my modeling career and speaking shows that it’s possible. It helps other people believe in themselves. Be confident, believe in yourself, work hard and never give up”.