Nyle DiMarco inspires the deaf and hearing alike during ‘Living Out Loud’


Ella Dominguez

Nyle DiMarco shares his experience as a deaf man during “Living Out Loud” at the Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex on Thursday.

Nyle DiMarco shared his experience as a deaf man rising through the ranks of Hollywood during “Living Out Loud” at the Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex on Thursday. 

DiMarco, a world-renowned model and reality TV star, was born deaf. Through his experience on “America’s Next Top Model,” “Switched at Birth” and “Dancing with the Stars,” DiMarco has captured the hearts of the hearing and deaf world alike with his piercing blue eyes and dedication to advocating for the deaf.

Throughout his presentation, DiMarco signed on stage while an ASL translator spoke into a microphone offstage. 

At the beginning of his performance, DiMarco reminisced on his past. Having grown up in a family that is entirely deaf, DiMarco was exposed to ASL at a young age. 25 members of DiMarco’s family are deaf, which is extremely rare. More often than not, deaf children are born to hearing parents. 

DiMarco talked about his hardships while attending school, travelling while deaf, and his fraternal twin brother – who is also deaf and works as a full-time DJ. 

Before his call to fame, DiMarco always knew that he wanted to advocate for the deaf community. He always believed it would be through a more traditional route, like working as a math teacher at a deaf school or working in PR for a deaf organization. 

His life changed for good when the “America’s Next Top Model” Instagram account slid into his DMs – literally. At first, DiMarco believed it was a scam. After some convincing, DiMarco sent in an audition tape and was accepted instantly. Around the same time, “Switched at Birth” reached out to him for a small role on the show. Suddenly, DiMarco was working in Hollywood, an opportunity he never imagined in his wildest dreams. 

DiMarco spoke about the discrimination and hardships he experienced during his time working in reality TV. As the only deaf contestant on the shows, DiMarco couldn’t communicate effectively with the other models or dancers, and when the cameras weren’t rolling, the environment became hostile and discriminatory. 

DiMarco preached about the importance of overcoming obstacles and being your own advocate. “That’s the power of loving who you are,” DiMarco signed, “I’ve been able to live my life, my journey, more authentically.”

DiMarco went on to win first place in “America’s Next Top Model” and “Dancing with the Stars.” With this momentum, he created the Nyle DiMarco Foundation which aims to end language deprivation for deaf people around the world.

At the end of his presentation, DiMarco took questions from hearing and deaf members of the audience. He encouraged everyone in the audience to learn basic sign language and to treat deaf people as they would anyone else.