The biggest revelation at the comic con was the diverse cast of the relatively unknown comic series called The Eternals. Angelina Jolie is a superstar, and Richard Madden is known for his work in Game of Thrones and Bodyguard, but the rest of the cast were relatively unknown. One of the surprises of the movie’s cast was Lauren Ridloff, as she was introduced; she was asked how it felt about being the first deaf superhero. It was a revelation, and it was a pleasant surprise to know that the deaf community is getting representation in a big blockbuster movie.
Lauren was born on 6 April 1978 in Chicago, to a Mexican father and an African American mother, and she was the only deaf member of the family. She signed with her family as she was growing up, and as they were both loving parents, they learned how to talk in sign language.
Watch: Lauren Ridloff talks about her life
As Lauren was growing up, she was enrolled in a mainstream school where everyone could hear, but she had an interpreter who translated everything the teacher said. In an interview, she said for a long time she thought “deaf people didn’t become adults” as she never met an old deaf person in her life.
Lauren was sent to school in Washington, DC, this was the farthest she ever went from her family, but her parents wanted her to have a strong sense of identity. Her time in DC was the first time she ever met adult deaf people, and also the first time she saw deaf professionals, deaf scientists, teachers, researchers and for the first time she felt like she could be someone when she grows up.
Ridloff moved to California to attend California State University after her time in DC. She graduated with a degree in English and creative writing, and then she went one to become Miss Deaf America. After her stint as Miss Deaf America, she moved to New York and married Douglas Ridloff with who she shares two children.
After her move to New York, Lauren started teaching in kindergarten for several years. But her destiny lied elsewhere than just teaching as she joined the cast of Children of a Lesser God for which she was nominated for a Tony Awards. Then she got a role of Connie in the hit AMC's show The Walking Dead, and finally, it paved the way for her becoming the first deaf superhero ever.
Representation is the key to progress because if a five-year-old sees someone that is just like themselves, then the kid will get the self-belief that he/she will be okay in the future. Which is what she said she is doing, for someone who never saw a deaf person on screen, and never had people like herself represented, she wants to be that representation, so that people like her can be inspired.
Lauren is currently starring in The Walking Dead, and she will be next seen on the new Phase 4 movie by Marvel, The Eternals.