Fashion

Model with Autism proud to represent in Philly Fashion Week


PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Friday begins Philly Fashion Week, and one of the models is representing more than just a designer’s brand. He’s representing people with disabilities.

“I like to think I’m a man of many hats,” said Kyle Woodland when speaking of his multi-faceted career.

The 26-year-old can currently be seen sashaying down runways and posing for photos for various designers and brands with his tall frame and shoulder-length locks.

His photos get a lot of looks. But there’s one thing you can’t tell by looking at Kyle.

“(I’ve been) learning and dealing with Autism since I was 2 — having autism and pervasive developmental disorder,” he said.

The two disabilities make the modeling world that much harder to navigate.

“Going into this industry, people really aren’t patient with people with autism spectrum disorder,” said Woodland. “Everything is really fast-paced. And when you have autism, sometimes you just want to take time to process things. Sometimes it’s just really hard when you have Autism to read the room.”

With the help of his agency, Main Line Models in Glen Mills, Kyle’s first year in the business has been a stylish success with appearances in national campaigns and in New York Fashion Week.

“They love him,” Main Line Models Owner and Director Laraine Colden says of the designers and stores that have booked Woodland.

“He’s a go-getter! And he’s not gonna take ‘no’ for an answer,” she said.

Kyle approaches each booking, including Philly Fashion week, with the same candid attitude.

“I tell them off the bat, like hey, I’m very creative. I’m talented, but I do have autism spectrum disorder,” he said.

That type of candor is important, advocates say, for people living with any disability. Disability Pride PA Founder and Executive Director Vicki Landers says no one should feel like they have to hide a disability.

“One in four people has a disability, whether it is seen or unseen,” said Landers. “I think everybody should be proud of who they are.”

Part of Kyle’s success involves the support he’s gotten from his agency.

“One of the fashion shows he went on, one of my bookers actually went with him to the show,” said Colden.

But for the most part, Woodland shines on his own including his appearance in the Netflix film “Hustle” with Adam Sandler.

“Adam Sandler is really down to earth, man,” he says of the star who took time to pose for a photo with him.

Woodland is lighting up the big screen and the computer screen in his own Youtube Show, the Kyle Woodland show. He hopes that, by sharing his story, he can change the face of autism.

“I’m a strong advocate of being yourself,” he said. “You’re never gonna succeed or show your true self if you’re trying to hide yourself or be someone else.”

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