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Deanne Bray cont. from page 11 education, you have more choices when choosing a career. How did you get the accommodations you needed in college? I used a sign language interpreter. A couple of times I used an FM system. The University of California-Northridge had a number of deaf students, but if I was the only student with hearing loss in the class, I’d have a volunteer take notes for me and I’d compare my notes with the volunteer’s notes. I think the communication access has improved at Northridge since then and they are committed to students who need it. They have a choice of real-time captioning, sign language interpreter, FM system or notetaker. My preference would be to use a sign language interpreter. Do you wear your hearing aid in the show? On the set? How do your fellow actors communicate with you? What accommodations or strategies do you use to communicate with actors, directors, set staff? I do wear my hearing aid on set. I like hearing the people who talk to me while I read lips. I don’t do as well reading lips with my hearing aid off. My hearing aid is good for one-toone conversations. Being in a room full of people with conversations everywhere is when I need to have a sign language interpreter. My interpret- er is my “ears.” She fills in the gaps of what I miss. I don’t wear a hearing aid for my character. When the camera rolls, I take it off because my character at this point in the series has disconnected herself from people—all people both hearing and people with any degree of hearing loss. Emma does this because of a tragedy in the past. She does not want to get into a conversation with anyone so she wears headphones walking in the streets and at work so that hearing people can leave her alone. She does use sign language with those who know she is deaf. The fun part is that I am not sure where the writers are going with Emma and how they will play with the idea of her wearing a hearing aid which she did several years ago when she was “connected” with people and was supposedly happy during that time in her life. What type of reaction do you get from those who do not have hearing loss? Does anyone on the show have a hearing loss? Not that I know of but the crew and cast I work with have been wonderful. They tap me on the shoulder to get my attention. They remember to look at me when they talk to me. They use a sign language interpreter to communicate with me when I don’t have my hearing aid on. So far, the experience of working in a hearing environment has been smooth. It’s great. Deanne Bray relaxes with her husband, Troy Kotsur, and their daughter Kyra. When did you decide to become an actress? What advice would you give to people with hearing loss who want to be actors? I was born into the entertainment industry. I got the acting bug. I was exposed to the set with my father working as a director of photography or gaffer on different productions over the years. My father encouraged me to get an education and not go in this direction in acting. I went to college and during that time, I joined a dance group called Prism West and performed on stage. An agent was in the audience and approached me saying that he could get me jobs in television. He is now my personal manager and has represented me for 15 years. I also grew and learned from working with DeafWest Theatre. I started with them when I was 19. My advice is to believe in yourself and be true to the characters you play. Do you have any mentors? How is that important to you? Phyllis Frelich, Linda Bove, and Freda Norman were the three deaf women I looked up to because they were pioneers in Deaf theater and television. I enjoyed watching them discuss a scene, characters, or the details of a play with one another. They support each other in a non-competitive way from what I’ve witnessed with different DeafWest productions during rehearsals. O th H t Mil V ti i li J ti L bi /NBC On the Heroes set: Milo Ventimiglia as P t P t lli and B Peter Petrelli d Bray as E Emma. © Justin Lubin/NBC 14 Hearing Loss Magazine

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hearing Loss Nov Dec 2009

Hearing Loss Nov Dec 2009

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