May 19, 2022
On this Global Accessibility Awareness Day, watch Rachel Romu and Dan Barra-Berger of Breaking Character on ETalk, Global TV. Note, the link below directs you to Vimeo. The video has closed captions.
[Reporter Chloe Wilde in the studio in front of large TV screen] Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day which focuses on inclusion efforts for the nearly 1 billion people who live with disabilities around the world. Tonight, we chat with two rising stars, a stand up comedian and a model singer and activist to learn more about their Hollywood dreams.
[Comedian, Dan Berra-Berger interviewed on a red couch] I'm legally blind. I walk around with my white cane here and I'm extremely nearsighted. People started telling me, hey man, when you talk about your vision, that's funny and I hope I break that expectation of what it means to be a disabled performer.
[Model, Musician, Activist, Rachel Romu interviewed on a red couch] When I was a teenager, I was training to become an Olympian on a dirt track in Thunder Bay. However, I discovered I had a spinal tumor. I also have a rare connective tissue disease called ehlers-danlos syndrome. So I started modeling to reconnect with the kinesthetic sense of self that made me feel super confident.
[Chloe narrating over clips of Rachel modeling and Dan on stage] Whether on the runway or on stage, confidence is key.
[Rachel] Accessibility empowers us all.
[Chloe, narrating] Rachel and Dan are two of the performers starring in the docu-series Breaking Character, a show that dares viewers to challenge expectations.
[Video clip, Dan at BATL AXE] I'm looking forward to ax throwing as long as they point me in the right direction.
[Video clip, Rachel getting on ATV, and standing as they ride] If they see me ATVing, they'd be like, well, what's wrong with you?
[Rachel narrating over images of Jllian in couture driving her power wheelchair on the runway] One of the models that really influenced my own confidence is Jillian Mercado. She's a power chair user and signed to IMG, and she started out as an activist first.
[Dan narrating over images of Courtney, a comedian with limb difference, on Canada’s Got Talent stage] I mean Courtney Gilmour, she'll do workshops for comedians in Toronto with disabilities. She's definitely set the bar.
[Chloe narrating over clips from Breaking Character and See] From role models to more Hollywood hopes, Dan and Rachel are seeking more green lights in entertainment. For Dan, that's through more laughs and another gig on the Jason Momoa-led series, See.
[Dan narrating over clips of Momoa in fur pelt costumes for See] See does a really good job of hiring blind actors. Unfortunately, I didn't get to do a scene withJason but that man is a tank. I saw him from across the parking lot, about 200 feet away. Wow. I thought it was a bear. He's just huge. But the experience on the show was excellent. Jason, if you wanna call me for season four, hook it up, buddy.
[Chloe narrating over clips of Rachel in front of Roots store] And after booking a major roots campaign, Rachel's aiming for two high profile duets
[Rachel on couch and then narrating over Jessie Reyez and Lady Gaga each on a red carpet] Jessie Reyez was a songwriter first and has now become this artist who really like writes her own rules and or Lady Gaga has fibromyalgia. My mom's a huge Lady Gaga fan. She's like obsessed. She wants me to work at Lady Gaga cuz I don't think my mom likes my swears in my music. So. [Rachel laughing]