Nightly News   |  January 16, 2012

Child model with Down syndrome inspires thousands

Ryan Langston, 6, has everything a casting director would want in a child model: charisma, a hip haircut and a knockout smile. He also has Down syndrome - which got everyone talking. NBC’s Anne Thompson reports.

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BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Finally tonight, the latest sensation in the advertising world is causing a stir because of what you don't see. When you look at the ads he's starring in, you see a bunch of beautiful, good-looking kids, and that is exactly the point here. Our report from NBC 's Anne Thompson .

ANNE THOMPSON reporting: In a business where perfection is the ideal, six-year-old Ryan Langston 's got the look that sells. He also has Down syndrome. Are you a star?

Mr. RYAN LANGSTON: Oh, yeah.

THOMPSON: Oh, yeah. Retailers like Target and Nordstrom are using Ryan in their ads and catalogs. His appearance with kids his age has set the Internet buzzing with encouragement from parents of other special needs children.

Mr. JIM LANGSTON: Hi .

THOMPSON: But Ryan 's biggest cheering section is at home, led by parents Amanda and Jim .

Mr. J. LANGSTON: The Nordstrom ad, his little biker jacket and his hoodie, you know, and he looks like he's going to go work -- go to the garage and work on his Camaro , you know.

Ms. AMANDA LANGSTON: He's a Jersey boy.

Mr. J. LANGSTON: He's a Jersey -- he's a true Jersey boy.

THOMPSON: This Jersey boy hangs out in the backyard with his twin brother Ian , a minute older than Ryan and constantly in motion.

Mr. IAN LANGSTON: He likes to rock out with Metallica.

Mr. R. LANGSTON: Metallica.

THOMPSON: Ryan idolizes Ian . Born with a hole in his heart and an extra chromosome, Ryan survived open heart surgery at three months old.

Unidentified Woman #1: Where is June?

Mr. R. LANGSTON: Right here.

Woman #1: Good.

THOMPSON: Today he attends a school for Down syndrome children where his mainstream modeling is a point of pride.

Ms. LANGSTON: We all want to see who's like us. And I think that they're no different than anybody else. They want to see themselves included in the -- in the landscape that is, you know, our life.

Mr. R. LANGSTON: That's me .

THOMPSON: It is you. Do you like this leather jacket?

Mr. R. LANGSTON: Yeah.

THOMPSON: Ryan can see kids like him in Pampers ads.

THOMPSON: And the hit show "Glee." But now it's Ryan 's turn in the spotlight.

Mr. R. LANGSTON: You have long hair.

THOMPSON: I have long hair, too. Yeah.

Mr. R. LANGSTON: Wow.

THOMPSON: Wow. Just like yours.

Mr. R. LANGSTON: Yeah. Thank you.

Ms. LANGSTON: After the shoot is over, he does not want to leave. And the rest of the day he's very, like he's got kind of an attitude, like he kind of brushes me off.

THOMPSON: A face to remember, broadening America 's concept of a model child. Anne Thompson , NBC News, Garwood, New Jersey.