CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. — Maxine Simeone started making hair accessories when she was eight or nine.
A bead fell off a hairband. So she glued it back on. Boom. The life of an artist commenced.
She drew some dresses, too.
“For Lady Gaga and Beyonce!” she says.
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But hairbands and hair clips, bedecked with jewels and ribbons and flowers, were her passion, her art.
Maxine is good. Really good.
“I see them with my fashion eye,” says Maxine.
The 23-year-old designer has Down syndrome, but that didn’t stop her from starting a new line of hair accessories, “Sparkles by Maxine.”
She even has a catchphrase:
“I MAKE THEM SOOO FABULOUS!”
Her work goes for about $12 apiece or two items for $20.
“It’s hot, it’s really hot,” says Poolside’s Linda Zell. “Everyone needs a little Maxine sparkle.”
Maxine received a business boost from Help Us Gather, a Clearwater nonprofit that advocates for the social inclusion of people with disabilities.
Maxine is a star for the nonprofit, not just for her spirit but her skill too.
“You see not only her personality and her joy which is so contagious, but her raw talent,” says HUG’s Ashley Richmond.
Maxine would like to expand her brand, get in more stores, maybe even start a men’s line. Making people happy with “Sparkles by Maxine” means a lot to her.
“It’s awesome,” she says smiling.