Look Out! Here comes Nyle DiMarco
MM: Do you ever day dream about your time on America’s Next Top Model & Dancing with the Stars? That is a very visible way to “grow-up” in front of America, let alone come out? What memories come flooding in when you think about both experiences? Did you keep any of the clothes or costumes?
ND: I’ll admit I do day dream about my time on ANTM and DWTS. More about how I surprised myself with my capabilities that I never thought I had. And, mostly about how my Deaf community supported and positively reacted… it was validation that I was doing the right thing and that this was destined to happen to me.
I wanted to keep some of the clothes but both shows wouldn’t let me!
MM: Best Memory or Lesson from ANTM:
ND: The very first day of ANTM, Tyra Banks marched down the runway on Hollywood Blvd with thousands of eyes on her and told us all, “Never take NO as an answer.”
And to this day, I still live by that quote.
There is a lot of uncertainty in the entertainment world in regards to having a Deaf person involved in creating projects or being in them. Some people might be hesitant to cast or bring on a Deaf person, possibly due to a presumption about inability, but I’m not going to take no as an answer. I know that not only are we more than able, but we have a lot to offer.
MM: Best Memory or Lesson from DWTS:
ND: To be honest, I surprised myself every week on a live stage without being able to hear… and that is a friendly reminder that I can do absolutely anything if I set my mind to it.
MM: Hardest thing about being on TV?
ND: The burden of representing the Deaf community, since there are 360 million of us worldwide. It is a heavy burden but I am more than happy to take it on because I know I can improve the lives of Deaf people by hopefully breaking down stigmas and educating people about our culture. People are afraid or cautious of what they don’t understand, and we have a lot to share!
MM: How old were you when you saw your first play? What was the name of the play? What was the experience like as a deaf boy?
ND: Children Of A Lesser God was already on Broadway years before I was born. Heh! However, I watched the film when I was around ten and it made me feel valued. The scenes on the big screen reverberated to me and felt true. It was the first time I ever felt connected to a movie on a deeper level. I felt that being Deaf, there is value. It was also amazing seeing Deaf actors on the big screen, especially Marlee Matlin. That representation was extremely important because as a kid, it meant that Deaf people can do anything.
MM: Now that you are an adult, how do you experience theatre, concerts, movies, other mediums that include sound? What do you enjoy most about these experiences?
ND: I enjoy loud things at theaters, concerts, and movies. For example I like Michael Bay movies for their big explosive scenes. I can feel them and they’re enjoyable. When the sound is not loud enough, I fixate on visual effects. When concerts link visual effects to the rhythm of sound, it’s like music to my eyes… almost like I can literally see sound making waves to my eyes.
MM: This issue is all about color, something you can see that stirs the emotions and also helps communicate ideas and feelings. Tell us about a time where color impacted you: could be a sunset, a view of the ocean. How did this moment impact you, where were you and what was the color?
ND: The baby blue color of the sea. I think it is where conversations usually happen. When I was 24, my hearing friend asked me if I wished I could hear. It was the first time I was ever asked that question and we were sitting by the ocean enjoying the view. That definitely impacted me and that color stands out in my mind.
Another time when I was at the gorgeous Zuma Beach, a friend told me the sound of the waves were the most beautiful thing. I told him not to feel bad because I couldn’t hear it, but that research has proved that deaf people have enhanced vision. The blue waves are extra stunning to our eyes. We see every little detail. The shimmering lights, the shapes of waves, the foam building up the shore. It’s like sound to my eyes.
MM: Theatre and the arts truly stirs the soul, and can often call for change in society. You have had a dramatic impact on society by educating so many of us since appearing on America’s Next Top Model and Dancing with the stars, and now you are producing Children of a lesser God, you are up to a lot. Did you know you would be hear in this place of your life now? How does it feel. You are taking some giant leaps since some of the reality tv stuff, tell us how you decided to produce a play?
ND: If I could go back in time and tell my younger self that I would be doing all that, I would think I was crazy! It had never occurred to me, at all. I originally wanted to be a math teacher at a Deaf school and eventually move up the ranks toward the superintendent position. I wanted to inspire and implement pride in Deaf kids in loving who they are and that their future possibilities are endless despite the “inability” that society likes to make them feel. I feel honored and blessed. I strongly believe in having Deaf people involved in the production, especially when the story is about the Deaf. That is where true representation happens. So when I learned that Children of a Lesser God was going to Broadway, I immediately knew I wanted to get involved and bring my life experiences to the stage. When you have representation, authenticity is bound to shine through and that is extremely important.
MM: We also know you have a foundation. The nyledimarcofoundation can you tell our readers what the mission is and what you are doing this Summer on behalf of the foundation?
ND: Our overall mission is to better 360 million Deaf lives worldwide. Our current goal is to work with and support another Deaf organization called LEAD-K, which stands for Language Equality and Acquisition for all Deaf kids (lead-k.org). We are working to end language deprivation among millions of Deaf kids by writing a legislation bill that ensures every Deaf child has access to language and have a healthy language acquisition before the age of five. The goal is language acquisition regardless of the language used, whether ASL or English or both. So far five states have passed bills… we’re hoping for all states in the near future!
MM: Since this is our Summer Issue; what is your idea of the perfect Summer date day? For example, a day at the fair, a picnic in the park, etc etc.
ND: A long hike in Malibu in the morning, then soak up some sun at a beach, and then a pint of beer at a brewery!
MM: It is no secret you are sexy, and comfortable in your own skin. What do you feel most sexy wearing? Is there a red carpet look, or a look in this photo shoot you felt most sexy or powerful? What was it and why?
ND: I am a simple man, really. It might sound ridiculous but I feel the most sexy in t-shirt, pegged jeans, and sneakers. It’s the simplicity that brings out the most, I think. Like the shot of me in the teal t-shirt and royal blue jeans, it’s one of my favorites and I think it really stands out!
MM: MAN of METROPOLIS is an idea that men, gay or straight and everything in-between can live a life that is elevated. How do you live an elevated life? What do you value most in this life?
ND: I value water. It solves a lot of problems. Two glasses of water first thing when I open my eyes every morning (I drink more than eight daily). I work out at the gym and stretch as much as I can. I enjoy time with myself as well for self-care, so I do things on my own: hiking, biking, watching TV.
MM:. What is on the horizon for Nyle DiMarco, what should we be looking out for?
ND: I am writing several TV shows and films. I strongly believe the importance of having Deaf decision makers behind the camera. We’ve seen the success of many TV shows and films because of who the people are behind the camera and I’m ready to challenge myself and tell stories that speak to me. I’m excited about it!
Photographer: Stephen Buskin
Styling: Monty Jackson for Starworks Artists
Grooming: Michelle Harvey
BTS/VIDEO: Arno Diem
EDITOR: Seth Travis
Follow Nyle Dimarco on Social Media: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Nyle Dimarco Foundation: Visit Website
Purchase Tickets: “Children of a Lesser God”