I firmly believe that we all have to deal with the inevitable things we cannot change about ourselves, and therefore, accept and celebrate them! I'm not talking about our body weight, or the colour of our hair; but the physical things we simply have to live with, For instance, I'm a shoe size 5... and I'm pretty sure my feet have now stopped growing. So rather than hating my small feet, I'll celebrate the fact that I can fit into both adult AND children's shoes! I know that's a pretty shit example, but I guess it's a simple way to introduce what I'll be discussing in this post.
I touched upon celebrating the inevitable in my previous 'Arts' post, "I'm Not a Princess." And today I'll be talking a bit more about the way we can maintain an open and accepting attitude towards us as inevitably imperfect individuals. So I'll be exploring the ways some incredibly inspirational people have used their disabilities to further their acting careers.
I'll start off with a guy who has really used his disability to break bad by starting his acting career off with a bang- RJ Mitte. This naturally funny young man was born with cerebral palsy, and moved to LA in 2006 to become an actor. Only two LUCKY years later he was cast in the rebellious, and my personal favourite show, Breaking Bad, as Walter White Jr, whose disability required the use of crutches. This is a perfect example of a dedicated actor, who has used what - on paper - should be a very unfortunate situation, to better himself as a growing actor and person. I don't know about you, but that's what I call CELEBRATING THE INEVITABLE!
Another inspiration of mine is the wonderful Warwick Davis, who was born with the condition spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenital (SED), which caused his dwarfism. Now I think it's pretty obvious that we all know him for being Harry Potter's magical Professor Filius Flitwick and Griphook; however his career started off when he was 11 years old. Davis' grandmother heard a radio appeal for people under four feet tall to appear in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). Being a huge Star Wars fan, Davis naturally auditioned and was successfully cast as an extra, playing an Ewok, later being cast as the lead Ewok... any 11 year old Star Wars fanatic's dream! This amazing man has gone for gold, and landed among the stars - quite literally. An example of someone who has used their condition to achieve a very daring, and unconventional dream.
Cherylee Houston - who has previously appeared on UK television shows, Holby City, The Bill, Little Britain, A Thing Called Love, and Emmerdale - is Coronation Street's first regular disabled character in its 50-year history. 50 whole years! I think it's about time this show celebrated people of all types! It makes me laugh how often we fall in to the trap of believing these 'naturalistic' shows; shows that supposedly present a kind of reality, with characters we can relate to - well 50 years of just a bunch of loud mouthed people really isn't conveying the whole package of reality. Ruth Malkin, access co-ordinator of the Disabled People's Network Manchester, says that "It was important the programme showed the real problems that disabled people face. Obviously we think it's a positive thing to see a disabled person on television in a programme which is not a documentary show focusing on their disability." Although I completely agree with Malkin, in that it sure is a positive thing that we are seeing a wider variety of people on TV, but this is what I'm talking about when wanting a more accepting and welcoming attitude in this industry! It's quite sad really that - yes, actors with disabilities are being celebrated - but it has taken 50 years for a popular TV soap to cast a regular disabled character.
So please don't get me wrong, I am not contradicting my point here, I am glad that this is being celebrated, so it should - Houston's regular appearance is something to celebrate! But what I would love the most is to see more disabled actors being celebrated. We're all just people, and we are no more perfect than the person we walk past in the street; no matter how much money we have in our pockets, the size of our feet, nor what conditions or imperfections we have to deal with.
So let's deal with it, accept it, and celebrate the inevitable!