Today my guest on the Hometown to Hollywood podcast is Diana Elizabeth Jordan. Diana is a film and TV actress and has just made history as the first black, female filmmaker with cerebral palsy.
Diana has an MFA in acting from California State University Long Beach and has committed her career to entertaining and ensuring that disability is an inclusive part of the American Scene. For the past 20 years, she has earned a living as an actor and acting coach for people with disabilities. Joining us is Cory Reeder, an award-winning filmmaker who produced Diana’s film, I Can.
We discuss what real disability inclusion looks like, changes that are needed in the entertainment industry to support inclusion and representation, advocacy, advice Diana has for people who want to have a career in the industry, what it was like to direct her first film, the Easter Seals Disability Film Challenge, and much more. This is a truly educational and inspiring episode.
Some of my favorite quotes from our conversation:
• “My goal is to be cast in roles where my disability is incidental to the character or storyline.”
• “I’m a daughter, I’m an aunt, I’m a friend, I’m a co-worker, I’m an airline passenger… I play these roles in my REAL life, and I want that reflected in my REEL life.”
• “My disability is one of my identities, but I am part of many communities.”
• “The thing I love about film and television is that it can entertain, and it can educate.”
• “There are many diverse stories that I think need to be told.”
• “You can sit around and wait for someone to hire you, or you can take the steps to do it yourself.”
• “I don’t believe you step outside your comfort zone. I believe you expand it.”
• “Disability is part of diversity casting.”
• “In the end, self-advocacy is important for ANY actor.”
• “Grief is grief, and love is love… and that is very traditional.”
• “Now more than ever, there are so many great avenues to create your own content.”
• “If you want to make your dream come true, you have to take action.”
• Instagram: @fromtheheartdej
• Twitter: @fromtheheartofdej
• Facebook: @dianaejordan
• Diana’s website: http://www.dianaelizabethjordan.com/
• Diana’s Keynote and Lectures site: http://rainbowbutterflycafe.com/
• Performing Arts Studio West
Cory Reeder: https://www.coryreeder.com/
• Follow and support the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge
• Learn more about Easterseals
• Extensive resources for hiring individuals with disabilities in front of, and behind the camera HERE
• Diane Bruno, Disability Inclusion Consultant: https://www.brunodisabilityinclusion.com/
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Diana’s story is inspiring, and her initiative is something that all actors and would-be actors (and directors!) should take to heart. The time has never been better to seize your own creative destiny. Technology, from the filming capacity of smartphones to the platform of YouTube, means that you can create your own work and not wait to be “chosen” in order to be an artist.
If you want some guidance on how to get started building an acting career, consider investing in a consultation with me over Skype or in person in LA. In just one session, you can get peace of mind and a detailed action plan.