Sunday, February 26, 2012

Actors With Down Syndrome Featured in "Entertainment Weekly"

He is probably one of the most popular Oscar hosts.

We definitely enjoy Billy Crystal and his humor on Oscar night.  But that's not why I rushed out to buy this week's issue of Entertainment Weekly.

This is why I went to four different stores to find it...

And, wow.  It did not disappoint!  Kudos to writer, Lynette Rice who wrote an outstanding and insightful article.

Lauren Potter

The article highlights many actors who have Down syndrome, but focuses on Jamie Brewer, Lauren Potter, Chris Burke and Luke Zimmerman.

Lauren Potter's mom, Robin, is quoted as saying, "I think back 21 years ago, when the doctor told me my baby had Down syndrome.  There was a little mourning period inside me. No ballet, no proms, no weddings.  I'll never sit with her while she's delivering a baby.  But she's gone to every prom.  She's danced since she was 3.  She's on a hit TV show.  She speaks in front of people all around the country.  She's far surpassed any dreams.  They're different dreams, but they're amazing dreams."

While Potter discusses playing a high school cheerleader on Glee, she says her experiences growing up and attending public schools were far different at home.  "The typical kids would pick on me, like, 'What does she have, Down syndrome?'" recalls Potter; her eyes tearing up at the memory.  "At my old school, they pushed me and made me eat sand.  I was bruised, beat down and they make me eat sand.  I was little back then."  

It's hard to read about this and yet I look at these amazing actors and am so grateful both of my boys will see role models with Down syndrome on television.

Jamie Brewer

Luke Zimmerman

Chris Burke

One of my favorite lines from the article was, "In a time when color-blind casting is no longer a new concept, Brewer and her peers want the chance to audition for any role Hollywood has to offer."  

It's an incredibly well-written 7-page article devoted totally to actors who have Down syndrome that provides both touching insights as well as the realistic challenges that these actors face.  It highlights their accomplishments (Lauren Potter is serving on the Committee for People With Intellectual Disabilities for the White House, Jamie Brewer is a motivational speaker within the DS community, Luke Zimmerman volunteers at a local courthouse and Chris Burke serves as a goodwill ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society) and showcases their various roles in popular shows.

What a powerful and wonderful showcase of these actors.  Not only are they hard at work doing what they love the most, but they are also each advocates for themselves and everyone else who has Down syndrome.   They are showing the world people who happen to have an extra chromosome are more like everyone else than they are different.  

Have you bought your copy of Entertainment Weekly?  I hope so!  My next email is to thank them for their insightful, respectful and awesome article on Actors With Down Syndrome. 

I am now going to be a proud Entertainment Weekly subscriber. 


  1. Let's just hope that this greatly well-written article is 'heard' by the agents, and casting directors, those are the one's that need to take a risk and start sending and welcoming ALL and see the 'Actor First'!!! So glad that they are making great strides, as actors, and laying the groundwork for the 'doors' to open for the next generation and showing that ALL can be seen for their TALENTS FIRST!!!

    1. I agree!!! People first and talent first and actor first-- not disability first!!! Thank you for your comment!


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