As a graduate of the Texas School for the Deaf, do you think an ASL-focused education allowed you to explore your creativity and attraction to acting as a child?
I’m third-generation Deaf, and ASL was our primary mode of communication. Already having that and going to TSD, with access to its theater programs, signing choir, and all they had to offer, impacted my early love of the arts. I also think my talent for interpreting songs was born to me. I ASL songs on my social media platforms. This discovery allowed me to learn more about the artistry of ASL and showcase a variety of accessible songs.
Do you think that your work has expanded the range of roles traditionally open to the Deaf community?
I hope so! I’ve played many Deaf characters across the entertainment industry. I’ve also been fortunate to have many roles championed for me that originally were meant for a hearing actor in mind. King Lear and To Kill a Mockingbird were both cases like that. Neither made a note of my deafness or my use of American Sign Language in the show. And I’m happy to see many of my fellow Deaf actors in more substantial roles, but we still have a way to go. My one persistent goal is to make sure there is an all-Deaf cast in a mainstream television show or movie very soon.
Why do you believe promoting Deaf representation in the film and television industry is important?
Like any minority or marginalized community, having accurate representation is important and key to breaking down stereotypes. The Deaf community is a vast grouping of people with varied stories. It also elevates to have Deaf creatives behind the camera too as writers, producers, and directors.