It's 2018. Let’s smash statistics.

Hey-ho, I’m Coco!

… and I’m bad at beginnings. So it’s kind of ironic I even had problems at birth as a premature. Some of you might know that. But you know what? I found my job in smashing statistics: Even at the beginning doctors had doubt in me surviving. I’ve managed to learn how to breathe by now, it’s great. Isn’t that great? I mean we take so many things in life for granted, like breathing for instance…

When I was ten doctors told me also that I would have to work harder so I can stay on the level I was on that time. Because once I’d reach 14, I wouldn’t be able to improve anything about my cerebral palsy quadriplegia. I would stay at the level all my life, maybe I’d need a wheelchair one day too, they said, and puberty could make everything worse, anyway. Together with my parents and therapists we worked even harder. My parents exercised with me before school every day 30 mins in addition to the physical therapy — and at 14 I had improved — against all records. 

Another things is also kind of ironic: One of my doctors always smiled about my dream of acting. “There are a lot of them but only few make it.” And likewise I smile now about the fact that I found an acting school I can learn at by now. As a 17-year old I had told my parents that I was serious about acting, because that time I had been acting on stage for 10 years already and I became a member of my home town’s Young National Theatre. That evening I told them, we were watching TV. My mum said “I don’t doubt your talent but society’s ability to accept it. That’s why I don’t see you there,” and she pointed at the screen.

Especially in Germany actors with disabilities are underrepresented. My mum was afraid I’d end up being casted as an “elf or a leprechaun or an alien” only, like the actor Verne J Troyer also said. I was grateful for my mum’s honesty, though, and for her fight. She has been always fighting for me to be seen as an equal human being. 

I grew up as an ordinary kid, like everyone else. Instead of a walker my mum got me a doll’s carriage which she weighted down with bricks. And I wore Converse sneakers or other “normal”, nice looking shoes that could fit my orthotics anyway. She says that whatever life brings you, you can always make something beautiful out of anything. So we have been treating cerebral palsy. I wish world would see people with disabilities as beautiful beings also, neither praising nor belittling us…

After graduating high school, I went to London seeking alternatives to acting. However, it had me: I couldn’t just stop … Did I tell you that I’m good at smashing statistics? In London I auditioned for an American acting school. It surprised me because I only went to ask this question I had asked my parents before: “Do I have a chance with a disability in the (film) industry?” They said: “With your energy you can inspire writers for stories!”

So a week later I found myself accepted at New York Film Academy and a year later I’ve raised 30,000 Dollars with the help of 300 people across five countries for the program in the Big Apple. Again, I smashed some statistics of some doctors and some German acting schools because yes, we can and it can be possible, as Chandler Gobin already wrote here. Anything goes, it just looks a bit different or takes more time that’s what I say. That’s it.

And it’s 2018, I’m moving to Los Angeles in a few weeks to continue my acting program there. And it’s 2018, yes, it’s time to change the way we look at disabilities. That’s why I was thrilled when I found Evolve21, because it fuels this wave we’re on: It’s time we look at disability as strength, chance and beauty. I personally use the app now to get some inspiration for my daily 30 min workout that I’ve been keeping up since my parents have started with me years ago (well, now on my own, though, haha).

I’m Coco de Bruycker and I found my job in smashing statistics. Next: Smashing the low amount of Academy Award winning actresses with cerebral palsy — are you joining me, guys? Let’s take a breath, fuel disability with strength and smash some statistics then. It’s 2018.

Jill Rosamilia