Model Child: South Florida girl chases modeling dream despite diagnosis

(WSVN) - Most kids want a toy for Christmas, but one South Florida girl is hoping for a career, and as 7’s Lynn Martinez tells us, her parents think she’s a “Model Child.”

Skylar Velazquez is a very busy little girl.

Skylar Velazquez: “I’m 5 years old.”

From dance lessons to piano lessons, she does plenty to stay occupied. And now, add one more talent to her list of accomplishments — modeling.

Skylar’s achievements come with a lot of hard work.

Tina Velazquez: “The first condition is probably more common — what people know as autism. But when she was just turning 2, she was diagnosed with something called trisomy 8, which means she has three copies of the number eight chromosome.”

Skylar spent years with therapists to better develop her speech. Her parents are excited about the progress she has made.

Tina Velazquez: “She loves talking to people. She walks up to people on the playground and tells them what she’s doing today.”

And there was one thing on Skylar’s mind a few months ago.

Tina Velazquez: “I had a lot of pictures of her older brother because he was my first … So she was always looking like, ‘Where’s my picture? Why isn’t there a picture of me there?'”

Skylar’s mom had an idea.

Tina Velazquez: “So I asked her, ‘Would you want to take some pictures? I mean, we could send them in and who knows what will happen.’ And so she said, ‘Yeah, yeah!'”

So the family sent pictures to modeling agencies across the country and heard back from one — Karen Greer Models in South Florida. They brought Skylar in for a photo shoot.

It turns out, Skylar is a natural.

Tina Velazquez: “They said, ‘We’re interested,’ and we mentioned, ‘We just want to mention that Skylar does have autism and trisomy 8,’ and they said, ‘Wow. You know, it wasn’t really apparent.'”

Skylar hopes modeling is in her future.

As for her family, they say it doesn’t matter what Skylar grows up to be, as long as she and other children with challenges grow up to be accepted…

Tina Velazquez: “By the community and by her peers and her classmates and just the world.”

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