His modeling photos got him noticed, but didn’t show one thing: He’s deaf

Nyle DiMarco of Frederick, Md., is the first deaf contestant to appear on “America’s Next Top Model.” (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)To hear Nyle DiMarco tell it, his rapid rise in the modeling world has been pretty much accidental.
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He once did a casual shoot with a photographer friend, but nothing came of it until a few years ago, when an independent film producer persuaded him to try his hand at acting and modeling. Soon enough, he had an agent in Los Angeles and a guest-starring role on ABC’s “Switched at Birth.”

Then, last November, he got a message from the casting directors at “America’s Next Top Model.”

Intrigued by his photos on social media, they contacted him throughmodels南京夜网and asked whether he’d be interested in auditioning for the show. But until they got his sample video, there was something they didn’t know — like his two brothers, his parents and two more generations of DiMarcos before him, the dark-haired, blue-eyed model is deaf.

“They asked me, ‘How would this work?’ ” DiMarco says, signing energetically to an interpreter during an interview. “Do you need an interpreter with you the whole time?”

The 26-year-old from Frederick, Md., who has heard these questions before, had ready answers. No, he wouldn’t always need an interpreter. And yes, it would work. He knows because he has been successfully communicating with hearing people all his life.

DiMarco, 26, says that his rapid rise in modeling is mostly accidental. Fascinated by cryptography and majoring in mathematics at Gallaudet, he first aspired to be a math teacher for the deaf. But now he has visions of modeling for Hugo Boss. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

And so, with less than a year of professional modeling experience, DiMarco was cast as the first deaf contestant on “America’s Next Top Model,” the 22nd — and possibly last, if you’re reading hostTyra Banks’s tea leaves— season of which premiered Wednesday on the CW.­ He joined two other area contestants, Mame Adjei of Silver Spring, Md.,and Stefano Churchill of Virginia Beach.

After his performance on the first episode,TVLinepegged him as the “most intriguing hopeful.” But on-screen, Banks scolded him for smiling too much and agreed when fellow judge Kelly Cutrone called him “goofy.”

So it’s not clear what the future holds, but from the start, DiMarco says, he didn’t want to be “the ‘pity party’ person” on the show or “the token deaf person on reality TV,” although he says he felt that some of his fellow contestants might have seen him that way. It didn’t faze him — it just isn’t what he’s used to, having grown up in a tight-knit deaf community. Apart from one year in the fifth grade, he attended deaf schools all his life, ending up at the District’s Gallaudet University, the world’s only liberal arts college for the deaf. Most of his schoolmates, like him, were the children of deaf parents.

In many ways, DiMarco says, growing up deaf “was easy.” His family adheres to the outlook, embraced by part of the deaf population, that deafness is a unique difference — that the deaf are like a language minority or an ethnic group — rather than a disability. His parents supported him in all his pursuits, and he rarely worried that his opportunities would be limited.

From left, contestants Nyle DiMarco, Stefano Churchill, Devin Clark, Justin Kim, Dustin McNeer, Mikey Heverly and Bello Sanchez attend the “America’s Next Top Model” Cycle 22 premiere party presented in West Hollywood, Calif. (Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images for Nylon)

His biggest role model growing up was his math teacher at the Maryland School for the Deaf, who he says always related to his students as equals. So perhaps not surprisingly, DiMarco majored in mathematics at Gallaudet and once planned to become a math teacher for the deaf himself. He was most fascinated by cryptography, the study and practice of communicating through symbols (otherwise known as the technique Benedict Cumberbatch masters as Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game”). After all, encryption, much like sign language, is about conveying messages in code.

But now those mathematical visions are behind him as he harbors hopes of modeling for Hugo Boss and gracing the cover of GQ magazine. He arrived back in Washington this week fresh from an event at New York Fashion Week: Men’s hosted by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in New York, where he modeled a sleek light-blue suit from Hvrminn’s Eponymovs line.

In modeling, DiMarco considers deafness a strength. “American Sign Language requires a lot of facial and body expression,” he says. “The way [deaf people] communicate is naturally very expressive and shows a lot of emotion.” Seeing with “deaf eyes,” he adds, helps him pick up on nonverbal subtleties and makes him more attuned to what photographers want. He rarely has an interpreter with him during photo shoots, relying instead on lip-reading, body gestures and typing notes on a phone to communicate.

Sure enough, watch him at a shoot and you’re struck by his ease before the camera. Under dramatic professional lighting, he’s all smiles and thumbs-ups. Working wordlessly, he and the photographer seem to understand each other perfectly: a forward flick of the wrist tells him to take a step back, a point of the finger directs him to stand on a chair. And when the camera starts clicking, DiMarco matches it like clockwork, each tilt of the chin and brooding smolder executed as if it had all been choreographed beforehand.

DiMarco, 26, says that his rapid rise in modeling is mostly accidental. Fascinated by cryptography and majoring in mathematics at Gallaudet, he first aspired to be a math teacher for the deaf. But now he has visions of modeling for Hugo Boss. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

‘Ialways feel like I’m at home,” says DiMarco, who calls his persona before the lens “macho.” “When I’m shooting, it’s really like my playground.”

This model isn’t just all about his career, however. He hopes that his prime-time gig will change people’s perceptions of the deaf community so it won’t be “shocking” in the future when a deaf person struts down a runway or appears on TV. He wants to combat the assumption that deaf people are always in need of help.

“Switched at Birth,” in which he guest-stars as a friend of one of the main characters, is one of the shows pushing against that misconception. Following the lives of two teenagers, one deaf, who were mistakenly given to the wrong families as newborns in the hospital, it’s the first mainstream TV series to feature scenes shot entirely in sign language.

But “Switched at Birth” is an exception in the entertainment industry, which still suffers from a dearth of deaf participants — a fact that has hardly gone unnoticed in the deaf community. Earlier this year, aNew York Daily News interviewwith Catalina Sandino Moreno, a hearing actress who plays a deaf mother in the movie “Medeas,” sparked outrage that led to a #DeafTalent movement on social media.

DiMarco joined the backlash on YouTube,calling outdirectors for casting hearing people in deaf roles. “We know what is real here,” he signs in his video, comparing the practice to choosing a white person to play a minority character (see Emma Stone in “Aloha”). Things haven’t improved much since 2009, when the New York Theater Workshop featured a hearing actor as the central deaf character in its production of “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.” That prompted Linda Bove, a deaf actress on “Sesame Street,” todenounce the decision in the New York Timesas “tantamount to putting a white actor in blackface.”

So change is slow in coming, but DiMarco isn’t discouraged. He urges aspiring deaf models and actors to “own your identity. Love who you are in the world. Love your deafness.”

He’s happy to help lead the way. He’s never going to be shy, DiMarco says, about what makes him different. “Oh hey, and Tyra Banks?” he signs at the end of his “ANTM” audition video, a wry grin on his face. “I look forward to teaching you some new signs.”

The Washington Post

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Tributes flow for city leader

COMMUNITY STALWART: State Governor Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce presents Barry Maney with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) at Government House in 2013. HAPPY TIMES: Barry Maney with his most trusted friend, his dog Rusty.
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MOUNT Gambier businessman and philanthropist Barry Maney OAM will be remembered as one of the city’s most influential identities of the past 50 years.

The founder of the Barry Maney Group died on Friday aged 72 after battling illness.

Barry will be remembered as a prominent business and community leader who contributed significantly to the city’s social and economic wellbeing.

He was the catalyst for the development of Regional Foodbank Mount Gambier, which has had a profound impact in helping to feed the hungry, disadvantaged and the poor.

Barry also spearheaded the unprecedented bi-annual fundraising luncheon for the region’s homeless and was a much-loved patron and first ticket holder of the West Gambier Football Club.

As a sign of respect, West Gambier football club members wore black armbands during their matches on the weekend.

The West Gambier flag was also flown at half-mast on Saturday at Vansittart Park, which was where he played football as a young man.

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Big bunch of brollies send the white message

GUNNEDAH GO: White Ribbon women, from left, Kelly Donnelly and Krysten Barros (from K&K), world record attempt organiser Debra Hilton, Fonda Blackwell from Gunnedah Shire Council and Lisa Davies of Gunnedah PRAMS, are leading the way in the brolly brigade.GUNNEDAH is out to set a new world record to highlight the fight against domestic violence.
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And that message will be laid out in a big way when an anticipated 3000 people gather to form a massive umbrella mosaic in the shape of a white ribbon in the town in November.

If successful, the event will not only send out the non-tolerance of domestic and family violence message in Gunnedah, but also make the Guinness World Record Book, according to organiser and resident Debra Hilton.

“The current record is 2480, registered only this week in Orlando, Florida. But we’re going to blitz that, I know we can,” she said.

To qualify for the record, participants must hold a white umbrella upright for at least 30 seconds while the event is being recorded using aerial photography.

Ms Hilton added that one in three women will experience physical or sexual assault in her lifetime. In Gunnedah, over 240 incidents of domestic violence are recorded annually. But nationally, only one in three women tend to report these incidents to the police.

“That suggests that the prevalence of domestic and family violence in Gunnedah is much higher, and we need to remember that these women are our sisters, mothers, girlfriends, wives, daughters, work colleagues and friends. Most endure their pain in silence.”

Statistics show violence against women is at epidemic proportions in Australia, and over a 12-month period, an average of one woman is killed every week as a result of intimate partner violence as reported in a news release by Melinda McCulloch, chair of the Domestic and Family Violence committee.

The world record attempt will be held at Donnelly Fields in Gunnedah from 10am to 2pm on November 8.

“I’ve been fortunate in that Gunnedah Shire Council has agreed to be a partner, and the local Crime Prevention Committee and Gunnedah Domestic & Family Violence Interagency are also supporting me.

“The event will be of a serious nature, but we want it to also be a fun day for everyone.”

Ms Hilton has created a Facebook Event page (Gunnedah White Ribbon Guinness World Record Attempt) and is encouraging the community to “like” the page to track the event’s progress and check out how to get involved.

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Bumps in the night: Meteor’s sonic boom rouses city from its sleep

THE meteor shower responsible for the almighty “boom” that shattered the peace yesterday morning is expected to peak tonight.
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Slumbering locals were given the rudest of awakenings about 1.30am when a mysterious explosion over Tamworth rattled windows and shook foundations.

Suspecting foul play, shocked residents took to social media in droves to discuss the noise in anticipation of the emergency services sirens, which never came.

Just before 3.30am, the Oxley Local Area Command issued a statement saying it had received “numerous calls” of concern from people right across the city.

“Police patrolled several areas of Tamworth in response to these calls, however, no damage was located,” the statement read.

“At this time, it is believed the explosion can be attributed to (an)unknown falling object, possibly a meteorite.”

Tamworth taxi driver Ryan Newberry said he witnessed a “shooting star” while driving in the South Tamworth area.

“The main part of what I saw was white/gold with a green tail, and the bits falling off the tail were orange,” he said.

Astronomer Dave Reneke said, from the eyewitness accounts, he could confidently say the explosion was a sonic boom caused by a meteorite.

He said each year about this time the Earth passed through debris – known as the Perseid cloud – emanating from the Swift-Tuttle comet.

Mr Reneke said the meteorite would likely have been only about the size of a cricket ball or baseball and detonated 20 to 30 kilometres above Tamworth.

“The rocks come in about 30 to 40 kilometres a second and a lot of heat builds up and they basically explode,” he said.

“You get a sound wave associated with that and a flash of light. When they explode, they are extremely loud – like the loudest clap of thunder.”

Mr Reneke said anyone hoping to find the smouldering remains of a meteorite in a paddock somewhere would be sorely disappointed.

“This would have more than likely blown itself to smithereens,” he said.

Mr Reneke said the Perseid meteorite shower would be at its most spectacular tonight or early tomorrow morning, but the chances of another sonic boom were extremely slim.

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Problem deep-rooted within Parliament

SUSTAINED adverse pressure over her rorting of travel allowances caused the speaker of the house to resign, but still the expenses saga continues.
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This seems to suggest the problem is deep-rooted and contagious within Parliament.

To address the problem, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced a “feel-good” root-and-branch review of parliamentary entitlements, which is a prevaricating misdiagnosis of the real sickness and will not cure this morbid affliction of the mind.

Any bush doctor worth his salt would diagnose this communicable complaint as “purse pride” – very contagious, but not affecting everyone.

First identified in the 1600s among the ruling political elite, it is brought on by sudden wealth and extravagant entitlement in the absence of real distinction and is characterised by a puffed-up appearance and arrogance.

There is no cure and it may be zoonotic.

Should the complaint get into a mob near you, heavy culling is the best remedy.

Rob McIlveen


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Peel St project a little beauty

HISTORIC MOMENT: Hundreds of people turn out to commemorate the completion of the first stage of the Peel St beautification project on August 12, 1995. A CITY’S SOUL: Councillor Phil Betts, LJ Hooker co-principal Richie Thornton and businesswoman Carolyn Manning reflect on Peel Street’s transformation throughout the years. Photo: Gareth Gardner 280415GGC03
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A BOLD decision to embark on an ambitious 11-year redevelopment of the CBD has been credited with paving the way for Tamworth’s enduring economic growth.

Today marks 20 years since the first stage of the visionary multi-million-dollar Peel St beautification project was officially opened with a gala street party.

Stage one, focusing on the stretch between Brisbane and Fitzroy streets, saw footpaths widened, trees planted and seats, lights and bollards erected.

The plans to transform Peel St into a boulevard, which were put out for public consultation in 1992-93, initially met with considerable resistance.

Many residents kicked up a stink over the council’s proposal to narrow the thoroughfare and cut the number of kerbed parking spaces.

But Tamworth mayor Col Murray said the community is now reaping the benefits of the council staying true to its vision.

“I think it’s been absolutely fantastic,” he said. “The CBD is the strongest indicator of a city’s soul and how vibrant it is economically.

“The CBD needs to be busy and vibrant and have a good mix of multi-national and national, as well as ‘mum and dad’ companies.”

LJ Hooker Tamworth co-principal Richie Thornton said he had never seen the Peel St precinct in such good health.

“Having been born in Tamworth, I’ve seen the transition of the main street over the years and I have to say I have never seen it look as good as it does now,” he said.

“It shouldn’t be underestimated because it made the CBD come of age and I think the CBD would now be in a lot of trouble if those decisions had not been made.”

John Lobban, who owns the Purseglove’s and Cutting Point buildings, said the then planning minister’s decision in the early 2000s to stop a planned expansion of Shoppingworld was crucial to the CBD’s growth.

Cr Murray said he was desperate to find the funds to proceed with plans for a planned$6 million upgrade to link the CBD to Bicentennial Park.

He said the redevelopment of Fitzroy St and Kable Ave could create a “mini-Martin Place” that would drive a fresh wave of investment.

“Tamworth has been pretty much at the vanguard of beautifying our CBD, but I honestly think that mantle has diminished over the last few years.

“I think, in reality, we should have been doing the next stage about five years ago, so I don’t think we can afford to wait much longer.”

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Evidence shows link with health issues

ON BEHALF of CADS (Citizens Against Dayling Saving) members, I sincerely thank Joy Cunningham for her letter (The NDL, August 6), “End NSW’s dictatorial daylight saving”.
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I also fully support Joy’s comments.

Medical evidence has been ignored that changes to our body clocks are linked to health problems, including diabetes and depression.

In fact, I have been contacted by people who have been told by their doctors that the lack of melatonin is their reason for depression and could be the cause of Type 2 diabetes, due to also having low levels of melatonin.

It’s time to stop changing our circadian rhythms and body clocks by having a four-year trial without daylight saving.

It’s bad enough for adults to cope with the two problems mentioned, but for the parents and pre-teenagers it’s tragic. Some are as young as five years old.

Judith Law


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‘Bitter malcontents’ jibe may be snobby

MERCURIUS Goldstein is right about our living in a topsy-turvy world (“Stay at home and boo the television”, The NDL, Monday), but I don’t want his letter, or any lack of clarity in mine of August 7 (“Something rotten in the merry old land of Oz”), to leave any doubt as to what I was saying.
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It’s this: allegations of racism, protected by political correctness, are now perceived by some among the ranks of the educated and powerful establishment as an overriding licence for reducing a child to tears at the football, unfairly shifting blame for this to security personnel, and class discriminatory abuse like Professor Langton’s of ordinary football patrons.

The operative phrase above is “some among”; the AFL was divided for the very good reason that its more thoughtful members knew that once you start saying “people who boo at the football are just trash” – or is that “white trash”? – you might lose those spectators, without whose money at the turnstiles there’d be no AFL and no Adam Goodes, Brownlow medallist and Australian of the Year.

But as to “some”, we can probably do without your stereotyping of all members of the establishment, as in the persons of Devine and Bolt.

Your idea of taking your family to the football is great, Mercurius. If spectators boo a player for two years, you know you can add to whatever you tell them that Stan Heuston thinks they are being bloodyminded. But I wouldn’t bother telling them that their booing is “co-ordinated”, or calling them “bitter malcontents”. It might sound snobby.

And congratulations on not having used the racist allegation in your letter.

Stan Heuston


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Hairy league players grow beards of hope

ON A QUEST: Young Tintinhull dad Dan Greenwood is normally cleanshaven, but this beard is there for a reason. Photo: Barry Smith 050815BSC01FOR Tintinhull couple Dan and Kimberley Greenwood, June 6 should have been a joyous occasion, the day they welcomed their precious baby daughter, Imogen, to the world.
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Instead, on April 13, 34 weeks into the pregnancy, they received the news no parent ever wants to hear … their baby’s heart had stopped beating.

Consumed by grief, Kimberley blamed herself, wondering what she did wrong for this tragedy to occur, Dan told The Leader.

“We were both devastated, but we had great support from our families as well as from the Kootingal Roosters football club,” he said.

“We have a five-year-old daughter, Whitney, who was so excited about having a baby sister. Telling her was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

“After getting some great advice from an organisation called Bears of Hope, we introduced Whitney to her little sister.

“It was heartbreaking, but she held her and played with her. We told her the reason Imogen didn’t wake up was because she was in heaven with the angels.

“The second day after it happened, a social worker came round and told us a bear with Imogen’s name on it would be given to another family via Bears of Hope.”

It’s not the sort of thing you’d expect from a tough football player, who wrangles sheep and cattle by day at the Tamworth Regional Livestock Exchange.

In the macho world of rugby league, talking about such topics would generally be unheard of. But Dan’s teammates had already proven their mettle last winter when they grew beards as part of a fundraising campaign for the Cancer Council, with $6000 donated from the sale of jerseys.

After the Greenwoods lost their beautiful baby, the Roosters stepped up to the plate once again, deciding to let their facial hair do the talking and donate the proceeds to the cause closest to all of their hearts – Bears of Hope – naming their campaign Beards of Hope.

If you’d like to donate to the cause, visit beardsofhope2015.gofundraise南京夜网419论坛/page/kootyroosters4boh or go to beardsofhope on Facebook or the Kooty Roosters’ Facebook page.

The campaign concludes on August 29, when the beards will be removed after the semi-final at a big fundraising bash at the Kootingal Hotel.

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Tradies in fisticuffs at hotel

TWO Hunter tradesmen have been charged after an altercation at a Tamworth hotel at theweekend.
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Police will allege the pair, aged in their 30s and working in the Tamworth area, got into a physical argument with a Tamworth man in the gaming room of the Longyard Hotel just before 9pm on Saturday.

One of the men allegedly got a small sledgehammer from his work utility in the car park before returning inside.

A licensing sergeant, who was in the hotel at the time, intervened and confronted the pair, who were arrested.

The sledgehammer was seized and both men were taken to Tamworth Police Station and charged with offensive conduct and custody of an offensive implement.

The utility, owned by the pair, was also reported stolen from the hotel while the men were in custody at the police station.

The vehicle was located shortly afterwards, left abandoned in West Tamworth, and towed from the scene.

Police believe the vehicle was stolen from the hotel after the keys were misplaced by the owner during the altercation.

Both men were granted conditional bail to attend court at a later date.

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