To honour today as World Down Syndrome Day and celebrate all those who live and cope with the genetic disorder, a new public service announcement has emerged, starring Olivia Wilde. The PSA invites people to live, laugh and cry through the eyes of a 19-year-old girl with Down syndrome.
As we watch Wilde going about her day with family and friends, sometimes jogging, other times watching TV, cooking and singing, college student AnnaRose Rubright narrates what it feels like to be her, seeing herself as a totally normal person with the same needs as everyone else.
At the very end of the ad, we get to see Rubright as the girl behind Wilde’s reflection in the mirror. “I see myself as an ordinary person, with an important, meaningful, beautiful life,” she says. “This is how I see myself. How do you see me?”
The PSA was created by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi for CoorDown, Italy’s national organisation for people with Down syndrome. AnnaRose told ABC News, “I want people to try and respect people with Down syndrome and see how smart they are.”
While most viewers found the ad meaningful and emotional, there were those who suggested that it’s misleading, promoting false ideals, when it should be focusing only on AnnaRose and not on a ‘perfect’ Hollywood actress. In any case, its powerful message is heard loud and clear.