Nyle DiMarco is an actor, app collaborator, model, "Dancing With the Stars Champion," and a foundation creator. He is also Deaf. Many people view being deaf as a disability, but it is not, because as you can see DiMarco, has been very successful just as any deaf person can be, just like any hearing person. After growing up in New York, DiMarco decided to attend Gaulaudet University, the only deaf university in the United States and got a degree in mathematics, and a plan to teach because he feels like "I grew up with deaf teachers, and I thought all deaf children should have exposure to deaf educators." Not too long after in 2014, he was discovered on social media, and offered an small acting role on the "Freeform" show, "Switched at Birth," where hearing actors and actresses star alongside Deaf actors and actresses. In 2015, the reality show, "America's Next Top Model," discovered DiMarco's Instagram account, and asked him to be a candidate on the show, which he went on to win. Since then, he has gone on "Dancing with the Stars" and won the show along with his partner, Peta Murgatroyd. He was the first Deaf participant on "America's Next Top Model" and the first Deaf male participant on "Dancing with the Stars," as academy award winning actress, Marlee Matlin, was the first Deaf contestant in 2008 where she came in 7th place.
Week after week, fans are surprised with DiMarco's skill, and wonder how can someone dance so well when they can't hear the music? Nyle had to rely on his partner for visual cues, which they worked on during the many hours of practice they did. In his finale dance, to the band, Disturbed song, Sounds of Silence, he dedicated the routine to the entire Deaf community, who went through years of discrimination, which he described in a letter to the band to ask for permission to use the song. In the letter, DiMarco describes job discrimination, punishment in schools for the use of sign language, and the common perception that the deaf are disabled. This could be more far from the truth. DiMarco is now trying to use his new-found fame to encourage people to learn about Deaf culture and be a part of his foundation, the Nyle DiMarco Foundation, which works to help Deaf kids achieve great things. (One of the things the foundation is trying to do is create a bill where both English and sign language have to be used in a school setting. As a Deaf education major, I think this is a great idea).
Nyle DiMarco has inspired millions of people over the past couple years. He is both a role model to the hearing community to learn about the Deaf community, and a role model to the Deaf community to inspire them to break through any barriers that may be in their way. I, as we all, should expect many great things from him, and other talented deaf community members, as they break through the barriers that have held them backs for years.