“Often film and TV get able-body people to portray someone with a disability. It can be an opportunity to show the true diversity and hire disabled actors and, also help us to be gainfully employed,” says Tatiana A. Lee.
In November 2017, Tatiana attended some networking events with fellow actresses with disabilities to raise awareness about disability portrayed in the media. “We all came together for our love of diversity in the media. Which you know I’m very passionate about. It’s nice to see they’re others that feel passionate about the very thing I’ve dreamt about since I was a lil girl. I use to think I was the only one. It’s nice to find out I’m not alone,” she says.
The main event Tatiana attended was called Engage: Navigating Hollywood’s Shifting Landscape. She states the event was run by Pepperdine University and was held in the Starlight Room of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, California. Tatiana gives a few suggestions in her original post on how the event could have been more accessible. Remember advocacy leads to inclusion!
At the event, Tatiana states she got advice from top producers and actors in the t.v. and film industry. This advice led to discussions on hiring actors with disabilities, and positive stories were given as examples.
Tatiana asked one of the panelists, James Lopez (head of Motion Pictures, Will Packer Productions) about hiring people with disabilities and his response was honest. He stated, “I never really thought about actively going out and seeking to hire people with disabilities”, and he followed up by saying, “Maybe I need to do better.”
His response was alarming to Tatiana. She says, “I hope this is something that stays on their minds, and It’s why I love what I do because not only are people with disabilities not getting hired for roles, minority actors with disabilities are least likely to get hired. Then our own people, (other people of color) don’t even think about hiring us either. We cant talk about diversity and forget about the diversity of our own people and exclude them.”
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