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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.