By KenseyJean

Photos and Media are Copyrighted KenseyJean, please ask for permission (and properly credit back to my site/social media) before using.

Working with Nyle Dimarco, the winner of America’s Next Top Model and Dancing with the Stars for Resident Magazine‘s September 2016 Cover Shoot turned out to be an exhilarating experience!

Arriving on location, I wasn’t sure of how to present myself in front of Nyle Dimarco. I certainly didn’t want to overwhelm him with my speaking. Being around Nyle, had triggered some memories of my early childhood and playing with my second cousins. They too, were born hard of hearing since birth and very much relied on Sign Language, lip reading techniques, and their hearing aids to communicate. From that flashback, I had understood that being surrounded by a crowd of people and having to focus your energy on multiple people at a time can be very exhausting. Thus, I chose not to say much unless if it was of great importance.

To my astonishment, Evan, the Cover Shoot photographer, was able to guide the shoot effortlessly through body language and with a limited knowledge of Sign Language. However, it wasn’t all work and no fun; a few jokes were swapped and the team would laugh along. But amidst all the static in the room during these jokes, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad knowing that Nyle probably didn’t catch these jokes and that if I had been in his place, I would have found it very difficult – even alienating. But knowing Nyle, he’s probably grown more than used to it all by embracing his deafness and not letting it hinder his success or future endeavors.

I realized that while the crew tried their best not to overwhelm Nyle with their banter during the shoot, it’s difficult to prevent the occurrence of overwhelming situations. Being able to talk and hear myself, I simply can’t relate to the emotions of a person who cannot enjoy these two senses. If I had this realization before uploading the video I had created about Nyle Dimarco’s photoshoot for Resident Magazine, I would have created and captured it differently. Perhaps by including more subtitles or by capturing more about how we all had communicated during the shoot. I would have made it a point to include and even create a video that is more enjoyable not just for the hearing, but for the deaf community as well.

Upon viewing this amazing short documentary about reading lips, my mind has opened up to the magnanimous difficulties and overwhelming emotions experienced by a deaf person in a world that revolves around listening and talking. I can now truly comprehend Nyle’s passion for bringing awareness to the deaf community, and I applaud how he makes it his mission to teach sign language through his Instagram and through the ASL App. In this modern day and age, it is now easier than ever to interconnect and understand the powerful stores told from minority communities. By opening our minds and our hearts, we then are able to see how each one of us is beautiful, powerful, and gifted beings in our own special way.

ABC’s Switched at Birth is also an incredible abode to the deaf community and has done a wonderful job at opening the door to a different way of life. However, even after watching countless seasons of this show, it’s easy to forget that the deaf and other minorities exist with us in the same society.

Nyle Dimarco has helped me realize why it’s important to be aware of all the wonderful and diverse people around us; never to judge, but rather be kind and understanding. Together we can make this world a beautiful place, but it all starts with us.

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Behind the scenes photos

Resident Magazine’s Article

KenseyJean is a Photographer, Influencer and Youtuber that covers fashion, travel, culture, art, self development, and spirituality. She is the creater of AWAKENEDTRAVELERS, a movement currently being made. She seeks to awaken and empower the souls within each of us as we travel this physical reality together.

Kensey is based on Long Island NY and frequents NYC. She is on a mission to create a global community centered around all things beautiful, genuine, and empowering.