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“I’m different,” 21-year-old Mélanie Ségard wrote on her Facebook page, “but I want to show everyone that I can do a lot of things.”
On Tuesday, March 14, Ségard fulfilled her lifelong dream of presenting the weather on TV. For some, the accomplishment might have seemed out of reach for the Frenchwoman. Ségard, who has Down syndrome, cannot read or write, and has no broadcast training.
But that didn’t stop Ségard, nor her hundreds of thousands of supporters, from getting her in front of millions of viewers.
According to CBS News, Ségard launched a Facebook campaign in February called #MélaniePeutLeFaire, or “Mélanie can do it,” with the help of Unapei, a non-profit organization working toward making society more supportive of people with disabilities.
“These are people who, despite their disabilities, have abilities,” Unapei president Luc Gateau told French news site La Croix, according to the Washington Post. They “only ask to express them on condition that we take the time to welcome them in a universe able to adapt to their handicap.”
Ségard asked followers to support her dream to present the weather on live TV, then challenged television stations to put her on air if she achieved 100,000 likes on her page.
Within days, however, her supporters grew to 200,000 strong and now sit at just over 250,000. Two news stations ended up inviting Ségard onto their shows, and she chose station France 2 to help accomplish her dream.
Ségard trained with the station’s weather team for four days, learning what to say and how to present in front of a greenscreen. Then on Tuesday, Ségard made her broadcast debut.
While on air, Ségard told the audience about the rain arriving this Saturday, and sun in Marseille, France, the following day. Though her appearance lasted 30 seconds, her weather segment garnered a record-breaking 5.3 million viewers, according to the Associate Press.
“There we go; I did it,” Ségard wrote on Facebook. “I’m finally a weather girl.”
H/T CBS News
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.