Sinéad Burke

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Sinéad Burke
Sinéad Burke speaking on "When Building This World, No One Thought of Me".png
Member of the Council of State
Assumed office
4 April 2019
Appointed byMichael D. Higgins
Personal details
Born1990 (age 29–30)
Height3 ft 5 in (1.04 m)[1]

Sinéad Burke (born 1990) is an Irish writer, academic, influencer, activist and broadcaster, popular for her TED talk 'Why design should include everyone'.[2] She appeared on the cover for The Business of Fashion in May 2018 alongside Kim Kardashian with an interview as part of 'The Age of Influence' series.[3]


Burke trained as a primary school teacher, graduating from Marino Institute of Education at the top of her class and winning the Vere Foster medal. She is currently working on a PhD at Trinity College, Dublin on human rights education, with a particular focus on how schools allow children to have a voice.

Fashion and design activism[edit]

As a 16 year old, Burke often felt excluded from fashion conversations and experiences due to her limited choices available to her as someone with achondroplasia, so she started blogging to highlight the exclusive nature of the fashion industry. "People didn’t take me seriously because of my physical aesthetic, so I started blogging… and calling out the [fashion] industry".[4] She co-founded the Inclusive Fashion and Design Collective (IFDC) with the US disability advocate Liz Jackson in order to "challenge designers who traditionally haven’t been thinking very diversely, to work with people with disabilities, and find beautiful solutions to these problems. Aesthetics are so important, but if you look at products specifically designed for the disabled community, they’re quite ugly." Jackson and Burke were invited to attend the White House for an event titled 'Design for all' where the Obama administration highlighted the intersection of fashion and disability.[5] Burke actively campaigns to highlight the importance of inclusive design in all areas of life due to the practical challenges she faces in living and moving in a world that was not designed for people with disabilities. "Design is an enormous privilege, but it is a bigger responsibility".[6]

In 2012, Burke as Miss Minnie Mélange won the final Alternative Miss Ireland competition.[7]

In 2019, Burke became the first little person to attend the Met Gala.[8]

She was one of fifteen women selected to appear on the cover of the September 2019 issue of British Vogue, by guest editor Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.[9]

Burke is an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Irish Girl Guides.[10] On 4 April 2019 Michael D. Higgins, the President of Ireland, appointed her to his Council of State.[11]

Burke was a part of the Finding Power collection by Joe Caslin displayed in the National Gallery of Ireland.[12]


  1. ^ Fitzgerald, Cormac. "'I was furious and scared': Sinéad Burke on how being harassed on O'Connell Street inspired her new education campaign".
  2. ^ Burke, Sinéad, Why design should include everyone, retrieved 2017-12-11
  3. ^ "Sinéad Burke Versus The Bell Curve". The Business of Fashion. 2018-04-30. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  4. ^ Gorman, Brigid O (2016-07-08). "Social media changed my life, says Sinéad Burke". Silicon Republic. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  5. ^ "How Sinead Burke is making the fashion world wake up to disability". 2017-02-04. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  6. ^ "Sinéad Burke has designs on a more accessible world". 2017-07-29. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
  7. ^ Minnie Mélange wins Alternative Miss Ireland 2012. YouTube. 19 March 2012. Retrieved 2016-11-04.
  8. ^ "Sinéad Burke is the first little person to attend the Met Gala". Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  9. ^ "Meghan Markle puts Sinéad Burke on the cover of Vogue's September issue". The Irish Times. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  10. ^ "Meet our new Ambassador! - Irish Girl Guides". Irish Girl Guides. 2017-05-02. Retrieved 2017-12-11.
  11. ^ "President appoints members to Council of State" (Press release). Office of the President of Ireland. 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
  12. ^ "Finding Power / Sinéad Burke". National Gallery of Ireland. Retrieved 2019-04-12.