Meet Ethan Holt, Surf Style’s first model with Down syndrome

Meet Ethan Holt, Surf Style’s first model with Down syndrome

A teen with Down syndrome from Tampa Bay has kicked off a promising modeling career with beachwear company Surf Style. With an infectious smile and effervescent enthusiasm, Ethan Holt is a natural in front of the camera. And that’s not all – a dedicated athlete, Holt also has been successful in a variety of water sports. According to Surf Style:

He currently swims for both his high school’s team, and the Florida Division of the Special Olympics. He is also on the Special Olympics paddle board team. While participating in the Special Olympics, Ethan has won multiple gold medals on both a regional and state level.

Ethan’s mother, Phoy Holt, goes on to explain, ‘Anytime he gets to compete, whether its paddle board or swimming, he always gets gold.’

In a new page featuring Ethan as their latest model, Surf Style commented:

We jumped on the opportunity to include Ethan in our marketing, not only because of his incredible charismatic personality and love of the camera, but also to set an example of inclusion. 

Ethan got his start in modeling with the assistance of Help Us Gather (HUG). HUG is a nonprofit organization which seeks “to provide every individual a sense of inclusion, confidence and friendship,” and “connects people with disabilities to social events and activities.” Robin Lally of HUG, who worked with Holt on his first photoshoot, remarked: “He’s definitely that active guy that you would expect to be representing the brand.”

Lally also related that from the beginning, she saw a natural knack for modeling in Holt:

[H]e was working the camera so well to where every shot was amazing. He studies it, you know, he practices. So that’s when I realized, if he’s willing to do the work, and he gets it, then he’s good at it; so we thought he could make a career out of it. Models know how to move, and he brings his personality with it.

From his friends and local community, to the media outlets covering the kickoff of Ethan’s career, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Ethan remarked:

My friends on the swim team and a couple of girls, even my coach knows, say I’m a famous model now.

Ethan’s story is truly inspirational and demonstrates there are endless possibilities that people with Down syndrome can achieve.


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