Eau Claire boy featured in Target ad across the country

Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 3:26 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -Five-year-old AJ has always been known for his big smile by his family, but now that smile can be recognized by thousands after being featured in a Target ad.

AJ’s mom never imagined his smile would lead to him modeling.

“We do a lot of specialty care in Minnesota and one of his providers there noticed that AJ smiles a lot, as he does, and she said you should get him into modeling,” Sandi B said. “Maybe I’m a biased parent, but we took her advice.”

After submitting pictures of AJ to a modeling agency his mom began getting phone calls.

“He got his first gig last July with a portrait studio, and so he did that with one of their collections of backgrounds,” Sandi B said. “Then he did some kindergarten graduation modeling with a cap and gown and then our third gig was the Target gig.”

Not only is AJ a model he is also a role model for other kids with physical disabilities. AJ was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, a movement disorder, at 13 months.

“He walks into school with his walker,” Sandi B said. “For longer distances, he has to use a wheelchair, but his everyday life includes a lot of therapy.”

Although Cerebral Palsy impacts AJ’s life he has been able to make an impact on others.

“It means so much because AJ is always telling me, hey that kid has a walker just like me, he has a wheelchair just like me, so we love when other people can say that about AJ,” Sandi B said. “We did find out, we recently got connected with a family that did not know AJ in Florida and they were at Target and their son said, ‘Look that boy has a blue walker just like me’.”

As for AJ, he said he likes getting his picture taken and he plans to continue landing modeling gigs. AJ also said his favorite pose will always be a big smile.

You can find AJ’s ad in the Toddler Boy’s Section at Target in Eau Claire, WI.