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Lauren Ridloff        

Actress & First Deaf Superhero on Marvel’s “The Eternals”

Lauren Ridloff began her meteoric rise as an actor just five years ago. Prior to that, she won the title of Miss Deaf America and was a kindergarten teacher in Manhattan for a decade.

After leaving that job to take care of her two young children, she was hired in 2016 to tutor director Kenny Leon in American Sign Language as he readied the Broadway revival of Children of A Lesser God. After working together for months, Kenny and the producers concluded that Ridloff was the ideal and only choice for the lead. She pulled it off with resounding success, including multiple rave reviews from the New York Times and a Tony nomination.

She soon became a series regular on the longrunning AMC series, "The Walking Dead." She then became the first Deaf superhero opposite Angelina Jolie and Kumail Nanjani in Marvel's worldwide hit, Eternals. Ridloff received a 2020 BAFTA Breakthrough award recognizing the most promising stars of film and television. She divides her time between Atlanta and Brooklyn.

Speech Topics


One of the most oft asked questions I get asked is “How did you do it?” I share my life story by sharing the big ideas of my journey: taking risks and making tons of mistakes, learning how to communicate, finding my community and…yes, coming from a place of love.


I could tell you about myself, that I was born in Chicago to hearing parents and now have two children, but I don’t think that really tells you much about me. I’d rather tell you about how I fight. How I fight as a deaf black and Latina woman. This speech touches on a few principles of fighting, inspired by Thanh Nich Hahn’s How To Fight book: Show Up. Grieve. Share. Celebrate.

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