Nyle DiMarco embodies what it means to be happy with who you are.
In a new interview with People magazine, DWTS competitor and America’s Next Top Model winner DiMarco got candid about what it means for him to be deaf.
“I’ve never wanted to hear,” DiMarco revealed. “That’s never existed in my life. I’m happy!”
For the first time in Dancing with the Stars‘ history, the show had a silent dance number, with DiMarco and his pro partner Peta Murgatroyd performing along with a dance troupe because DiMarco wanted to help the audience understand what it’s like to dance without music.
The performance was so moving that it brought Carrie Ann Inaba and others to tears.
“If I’d been born into a hearing family and went to a public school, I would have probably felt much more isolated, and being deaf would have become my identity,” DiMarco said in his People interview.
As it is, 25 members of DiMarco’s family are also deaf, including his twin brother, his older brother, his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.
DiMarco added, “Since I knew my deaf identity since birth, it wasn’t hard for me to be comfortable, confident and independent in a hearing world.
“It’s fine if parents want to get their kids implants or hearing aids,” DiMarco said, though he reportedly has never even considered getting himself an aid or an implant which could allow him to hear. “But research shows that being bilingual improves their chances of speaking. Depriving them of ASL is denying them language.”
DiMarco’s foundation, the Nyle DiMarco Foundation, encourages parents of deaf children to teach their kids American Sign Language even if they plan on getting their children implants or hearing aids, according to People.
DiMarco hopes this foundation will be his lasting legacy.
“I’m improving deaf children’s lives and I’m involved in the Deaf community,” DiMarco explained. “It’s what I’ve always dreamed about doing.”
Are you surprised DiMarco hasn’t considered a hearing implant or aid?
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