Deaf Life6th September 2015

Deaf Model Making an Impact on Popular American TV Show

4th generation Deaf, Nyle DiMarco has nothing but positive thoughts about what deaf people can do

by Sarah Lawrence, Editor

Deaf 25 years old, Nyle Lorenzo DiMarco, lives his life through one simple ideology – “Deaf people can do anything.” Avoiding eviction from the current series of America’s Next Top Model programme so far, he hopes his involvement on the show will change the way people see Deaf people. With the support he is generating on social media, he is well on his way to doing that.

Born in Queens, New York, Nyle is fourth generation Deaf, his two brothers, parents, grandparents and great grandparents all being Deaf. When home, the family use American Sign Language, but on the programme, much of his communication is through voice and lip-reading, Nyle himself saying that this is a reality show, so it has to be real!

Moving to Texas when he was 7, and then Maryland when he was 12, like many children of Deaf parents, Nyle’s education was seen as best achieved at a Deaf school, going to Maryland School for the Deaf, until his graduation in 2007. Upon graduation, he secured a place at the only Deaf university in the world, Gallaudet, where he studied and successfully achieved his degree in Mathematics.

Looking back at his education Nyle has fond and positive memories. “Maryland School for the Deaf is a GREAT school with a lot of educational challenges, whilst Gallaudet is a great university for the Deaf. It is a magical place where you feel right at home. My experience at the campus, was one of the best experiences of my life.” Studying mathematics in pursuit of his ambition to be a maths teacher, Nyle’s first job was as a supplemental instruction leader at Gallaudet University, where he worked with maths professors to help students who needed some additional support.

However, standing six feet two, with dark hair, blue eyes, dark complexion and an athletic build, Nyle’s handsome features were to lead to a change in direction, when he dipped his toe into acting and then secured an opportunity to feature in the US hit series Switched at Birth. Looking for opportunities afterwards, Nyle registered for modelling roles, and through an on-line presence, he was contacted by the casting directors of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ who asked him if he would like to audition to win a place on the next series.

“I had never thought about it, but I thought WHY NOT! I gave it a shot and ended up being on it,” Nyle explained.

With a degree in Mathematics, sporting hobbies of basketball and volleyball, and a love of travelling, Nyle has a range of interests that will undoubtedly make him one of the most interesting participants on the show, and early signs are that the viewing public see him as a lovely and well-rounded guy. Having visited more than 30 countries already, Nyle has a lot of life experience to share with others on the show, and he knows how to strut his stuff too.

Winning a place in the finals of the show has thrown Nyle into the national limelight, especially as he is the first Deaf person to take part in the final stages. “Things have been getting crazy ever since the premiere. Things are going good and I hope it continues that way!” he told me. Commenting on his story being told in the Washington Post, Nyle said, “There were a lot of people reading and sharing the post! The article is insightful and I can see many people having new perspectives on Deaf people.”

Already a full time freelance model, Nyle’s short term goals are to build his portfolio, something he is able to do whilst the show is running. After the show he hopes to sign up with acting/modelling agencies Wilhelmina or IMG. Through his acting and modelling, Nyle’s overarching ambition is, “to show the world that Deaf people can do anything.”

With a proud and supportive family and sound advice from friends, Nyle has the opportunity to achieve his aims regardless of his success on America’s Next Top Model. Passing on some of the sound advice he has received, he suggests to other Deaf youngsters to build a strong photographic portfolio if they want to pursue a modeling career, and sign up to an agency to gain valuable experience.

​With firm ambitions and a plan on how to get there, Nyle is a man on a mission, but his thoughts are never too far from his friends, family and the Deaf community. His presence on America’s Next Top Model has already been a positive and we can but hope he continues to appeal to the camera and continue to raise awareness of the fact that Deaf Can Do!!

Article by Sarah Lawrence, Editor

posted in Community / Deaf Life

6th September 2015