VIRAL PHOTO: Virginia girl stops to stare at Ulta Beauty model in wheelchair

4-year-old has rare disease caused by gene mutation

By Ashley Wills - Producer
Carolyn Anderson

LEESBURG, Va. - An ad posted on the window of a local beauty store stopped a little girl in her tracks.

According to NBC4, 4-year-old Maren Anderson couldn't believe her eyes when she saw a wheelchair bound model featured in the window outside the Ulta Beauty store in Leesburg, Virginia.

"It was like she could just see the representation that she belonged in this world, everybody else does, and it just really tugged at all of our heartstrings," said Carolyn Anderson, Maren's mother.

Maren has a rare disease caused by a gene mutation, and she doesn't talk much.

"She does very brief sentences. She's a lot of pointing, a lot of nonverbal communication," Anderson said.

Anderson posted the photo on Facebook with the caption: "Well Ulta, you absolutely stopped my girl in her tracks this evening. It was mesmerizing to watch her stop, turn and gaze at this poster. So thank you."   

The post went viral.

"It's amazing the comments we get and the traction it gets," said Tim Anderson, Maren's father.

In a statement to NBC4, an Ulta Beauty spokeswoman said: "We love that this family shared such an amazing moment and were touched to see Maren looking at the image in our window - it makes us incredibly proud. We feel even more inspired to continue to feature amazing people that help us shape how the world sees beauty."

"We would like to say thank you for your inclusive advertising," Carolyn Anderson said.

Ulta Beauty also reached out to the Andersons. The company plans to fly the model in the photo, Steph Aiello, out to Leesburg so the duo can shop together.

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