Thursday, April 29, 2010

Personal Hero

As a girl growing up hard of hearing and wearing a hearing aid, completely surrounded by hearing people I never really had anyone like me to look up too. That is until recently, when I had the opportunity to see Marlee Matlin speak at a university near my home.
Marlee Matlin is a deaf actress who won an Oscar for her role in the movie, Children of a Lesser God. Growing up Marlee learned sign language (which I am still learning since I am not totally fluent in the language yet!), to read lips, and speak a little. She joined a theater group when she was little, which is where she was first exposed to the world of acting. Marlee's mother did not want her daughter to become an actress, she didn't want to see her little girl set herself for a life of failure. What I love about Marlee is she believed in herself. She had no one who was deaf or hard of hearing to look up to, to tell her that she could be an actress. Yet, this didn't stop her. Marlee kept pursuing her dream, even more so after she met Henry Winkler (from Happy Days.. a.k.a The Fonz). Henry always encouraged Marlee to go after her dreams, so what if they had never been achieved by anyone else, she was the one to prove everyone wrong! As this goes to show, sometimes everyone needs a good support system; someone to keep cheering you on even when no one else is. Eventually Marlee became the youngest women to win a Best Actress Oscar! If this doesn't show determination, then I don't know what does! Even after she won her Oscar, people still said that she wasn't going to succeed. Yet, here we are, twenty years later, and Marlee Matlin is still acting. She has been on t.v. shows such as Seinfeld, The West Wing, The L Word, and Dancing With The Stars. As a huge advocate of Deaf and Hard of Hearing rights and following your dream, I think Marlee can be an inspiration to everyone. She has made me even more proud of my qualities which make me unique. Also showing me that it is possible to be successful and be different, which is something which I have struggled with for the longest time. However, my viewpoint has changed a lot after seeing Marlee speak and meeting her. She is the sweetest person I have met, when she was autographing her book (go read her memoir I'll Scream Later, if you are interested in learning more about her) she took time to chat with me. It is rather nice knowing that someone you admire, is just the way you thought they are!


  1. We all need role models, people to look up to. People who inspire us. I've been touched by Princess Diana, Mother Theresa... bold ladies who did what their heart told them!

  2. I love this post; it is definitely an inspirational story! But I've learned something new about you, which is the very reason I started blogging long ago — to get to know fellow human beings who like doing the same things I do! Absolutely lovely.