What does it mean to be beautiful in today’s world? We asked ourselves this question as we prepared for our editorial with Chelsea Werner, a 4X Special Olympics Champion turned New York City model. As we scrolled through her pictures, we were awed by her achievements and proud of her ability to break through so many physical barriers and social stigmas. 

Chelsea Werner is out to change the world.

Chelsea is one of the most influential and inspirational individuals we’ve featured, and we couldn’t wait to finally meet this beautiful human being. How different our world would be if more of us could be as strong as this young woman! 

From the moment she walked into Pildora Studio until the moment she left, Chelsea radiated powerful and positive energy. As she got her makeup done, she danced to the music playing over the speakers. When her first look was ready, she hopped off the seat and looked in the mirror. Her smile grew bigger as she pointed at herself and started dancing again and laughing. She looked beautiful and she knew it. She doesn’t see herself as different and has the highest self-esteem of anyone we have ever met.  

The day was nonstop laughter, fun, and genuineness. 

After the shoot, the Pildora team sat still glowing in reflection of our amazing day. Contrary to all stereotypes, this is what it means to be beautiful in 2019 — true beauty is inner beauty. Indeed, Chelsea is the essence of true beauty on multiple levels when juxtaposed to what society tells us we need to be beautiful — big lips, a 24-inch waist, etc. There is no pretense or posturing. Chelsea simply loves herself. 

It is amazing that this young woman with Down syndrome can teach us so much about self-love and beauty. She is a woman who looks in the mirror and loves what she sees. She has overcome obstacles. She was born with a disability and decided not to let that stop her from becoming an epic gymnast. And, oh, a fashion model too.  

Chelsea Werner uses her platform to spread awareness about what she sees as her gift, Down syndrome. She has modeled across the US and has been featured by top brands that include the likes of Teen Vogue, H&M, and, most recently, Pildora. 

We were awestruck by the amount of love one individual can carry. With a smile and some fantastic dance moves, she shimmied her way into our hearts. What we learned from her that day is that true beauty is loving yourself and making the best of the challenges you face in your life and turning them into gifts.

Thank you, Chelsea, for shining so bright and for representing Pildora as we change the planet together.

Now let us talk about the outfits. 

A plethora of Pildora designers were included, and if you saw our Beacon’s Closet video, you know we used a few items from there as well. By combining the different aesthetics from thrift to luxury, we were able to create some elevated looks never before put together. Under each picture, you can see our featured designer pieces and shop them soon on Pildora!

Sweater: AndAgain 
Read and watch our interview with AndAgain here

Shirt: FrndsOfOurs

Dress: Beacon’s Closet
Jewelry: MonDivine Jewelry
Top: Vintage Leotard (from when our photographer was a gymnast) 
Skirt: Beacon’s Closet

Shirt: Vert Toi 
Vest: Beacon’s Closet

Creative Director/Stylist – Christina Almeida ; Photographer – Federica Dall’Orso ; Makeup – Sasha Cruz ; Hair Stylist – Zeta ; Model – Chelsea Werner ; Production Assistant – Rachel Fritz ; Styling Assistant – Catherine Barcheski