Octavia Spencer, Academy Award-winning actress, is making a call for improvement and more authentic onscreen representation of people with disabilities.
What We Know:
- Spencer shared how she is dyslexic and spoke about her personal experiences with dyslexia and how she is more of an auditory learner versus a visual learner.
“I was paralyzed with fear because I kept inverting words and dropping words. I didn’t want to be made to feel that I was not smart as the other kids—because I know that I am a smart person,” Spencer stated.
- Spencer never gave up. At 16, she landed her first role in the movie The Long Walk Home. Spencer graduated from Auburn University, majoring in English with double minors in journalism and theater. Since then, she has appeared in many roles.
- Spencer partnered with The Ruderman Family Foundation, not only because she has dyslexia, but because the foundation believes in the inclusion of children and adults with disabilities and she believes together they can do better.
- “Nothing can replace lived experience and authentic representation,” Spencer stated in a recent interview with The Ruderman Family Foundation. Spencer and the Foundation are calling for the Film and TV industries to increase the casting of people with disabilities and create consciousness within the industries.
- Spencer added that it’s imperative to cast the proper actor for the proper role, meaning people with disabilities as well. “Casting able-bodied actors in roles for characters with disabilities is offensive, unjust and deprives an entire community of people from opportunities,” Spencer continued.
- The Ruderman Family Foundation has supported and approved for studio and network executives to audition and cast actors with disabilities. According to The Hollywood Reporter, CBS recently signed a pledge created by the Ruderman Family Foundation, accepting to audition actors with disabilities for every forthcoming production. The BBC promises as well to advance disability representation both onscreen and behind the scenes.
This symbolizes a unique opportunity for actors or anyone with disabilities. Such a possibility can be incredible for everyone to see how amazing, unique, and talented people with disabilities are. Giving them a chance to be who they are makes them feel welcomed and appreciated. We all learn from each other; they need to feel part of society because they are!