The First Deaf Contestant on America’s Next Top Model

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The Deaf community is growing, as is awareness of the culture. As such, we are starting to see more and more deaf people in the public eye.

America’s Next Top Model: The First Deaf Contestant

America’s Next Top Model, the famous reality television show, has hosted a diverse group of people in its 21 show “cycles.” However, the show has only recently (within the last few cycles) added boys and transgendered cast members. Now, they welcome their first deaf contestant, Nyle DiMarco, to the 22nd cycle. DiMarco, who was discovered through social media and, an online modeling agency, is a 2013 Gallaudet graduate with a slew of acting and modeling experience under his belt. He will be joining the spotlight in the entertainment industry alongside Marlee Matlin and Sean Berdy, both of whom he co-stared with in a few episodes of ABC’s hit TV-show, Switched at Birth.

Deaf People In Show Business

America’s Next Top Model is not the only show currently employing Deaf community members. Switched as Birth, as previously mentioned, focuses on the Deaf community and features several deaf actors. There are also various films you can find in Sign Language, as well as countless deaf actors, actresses, producers and even filmmakers. To note one person in particular, Ann Marie (“Jade”) Bryan, the founder of DeafVision Filmworks, is the first black, deaf, and female filmmaker to graduate from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Furthermore, the National Theater Association of the Deaf also presents various deaf events, including Immersion Theater, which hosts workshops to help introduce actors to theatricalized American Sign Language.

Deaf People in the Work Force

Members of the deaf community can hold just about any job a hearing person can. To thrive in the workplace, they have found resourceful ways to communicate with their bosses and coworkers and do not like to be considered “handicapped.” Yet, many individuals still face discrimination in the workplace.

Nyle DiMarco’s alma mater is celebrating his new path on American’s Next Top Model, as is most of the deaf community. However, there are still great strides that need to be made, as people still continue to fight for rights in several areas of society.