'Born This Way' cast gets candid about representing people with Down Syndrome on TV
The 'Born This Way' cast gets candid about their unique reality TV experience and their journey so far!
'Born This Way' is an inspiring and eye-opening show which follows the lives of seven young adults who were born with Down Syndrome. The episodes are centered on the young adults as they pursue their dreams and hopes and face obstacles and challenges, defying society's expectations along the way. The show goes to prove that society is not always right especially when it comes to judging those who are a little different.
As cast member Rachel Osterbach puts it, "I hope that people can realize all the amazing things that people with Down Syndrome can do. We may do them differently or a bit slower than others but we can still do everything". When it comes to Down syndrome, there are many prejudices around it and 'Born This Way' has been successful in thwarting those age-old beliefs, allowing veiwers to see that people with an extra chromosome are not all that different from the rest of us.
Cast member Sean McElwee is all too familiar with these prejudice that unfortunately stood in the way of him pursuing his dream. He was stopped from pursuing his dream of acting while in high school due to a prejudiced teacher. He was able to pick up acting when he went to college and then landed his role in 'Born This Way' which went on to win two Emmy awards - for 'Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program' in 2016 and for 'Outstanding Casting for a Reality Program' and 'Outstanding Cinematography for a Reality Program' in the year 2017 - amongst other prestigious recognitions.
A common underlying desire among the cast members on the show is their need and desire to be and live as independently as possible. The cast members all live with their families and as their self-confidence is further nurtured and grows, just like everyone else, are ready to venture out on their own. "It feels good to be on TV and now lots of people are on my Facebook and Instagram," cast member John Tucker shares.
These young adults have the same wants and desires as all other young adults do but of course, most of society does not make it easy. With the help of the show, these young adults have had some major and drastic transformations in their lives. "I got a girlfriend now and her name is Kaylie," says Sean on the perks on being on TV. Just as most celebrities enjoy being recognized by people and gaining armies of fans, the 'Born This Way' cast too has their own loyal fan-following.
"It makes me really happy and people recognize me. I like signing autographs too and yes, taking selfies with people," an excited Sean adds. "People recognize me and tell me that I have been able to help them. What I don't like is having to be on a show and maintain a regular job. I get tired of working two jobs and I don't get to hang out with my family as much," says Rachel about being on TV.
"Being on 'Born This Way' has allowed me to meet people I would have never met and has made me more independent. It has also helped me to get over my fears and has made my life better in many ways," Rachel added. Most girls and boys would be very jealous of Rachel who had the delight of having singer Adam Lambert dance with her and sing for her when she attended his concert and this experience is something that has stayed with Rachel. "It was the best moment of my life and it was really nice," Rachel revealed.
"I got to release my first music album and got to record in a real studio," says John Tucker of his experience being on reality TV. "Yes, being on a reality TV show has changed my life and I now get to work on my second album," said an enthusiastic John who is known to express himself through his music, writing, and dance. Cast member Sean has been able to launch his very own t-shirt company with fun and quirky quotes as a result of being on TV and has even branded his line with the name 'Seanese'. "The show means the whole world to me," Sean continues before sharing that there can be "too much drama" at points but just as all friends do, they fight and make-up.
Sean's mother Sandra notes that initially people would ignore her son or would be unsure as to how to approach him but 'Born This Way' has been able to change that and the way that the public sees and deal with people with down syndrome. "Now they are able to approach those with down syndrome and not be afraid of them," Sandra shared. She has also written three books which focus on Sean's journey and experiences so far.
Representing people with down syndrome on such a big platform is something that all the cast members of the show are immensely proud of. "I am very lucky to tell people all these positive things about down syndrome. Sometimes they even cry and tell me how much I have affected their lives," shares Rachel. The young and awe-inspiring cast are determined to spread their message to the weary public and also encourage others with down syndrome to break out of their shell.
"Believe in what you can do. Even with down syndrome, believe that you can do anything and don't ever give up on yourself. Don't waste opportunities," says John. "I feel that it is important to be a good role model. It feels very good to represent people with down syndrome," Sean enthusiastically adds. "People with Down syndrome are just like everyone else. We have hopes and dreams and can make it all come true," Rachel says.
If you have not stepped into the 'Born This Way' world yet, you should. The show will take you on a roller coaster of emotions as it follows around these young hopefuls who are determined to make their dreams a reality.