May 7, 2022
Thunder Bay News Watch video. Local Rachel Romu stars in Breaking Character. About the Author: Mitchell Ringos is a new addition to the TBT News Crew starting in 2021 as a reporter and weatherman.
Thunder Bay model, musician and activist, Rachel Romu, has been pushing for disability visibility in the entertainment industry. Romu is now starring in a 10-part documentary called, "Breaking Character." A series which airs on AMI-tv, explores disability representation through the eyes of six performers with disabilities. Rachel Romu is a Thunder Bay native, who was an inspiring track and field athlete. But doctors discovered a spinal tumor that needed to be removed, along with a connective tissue disease known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. In 2017, Romu took on modeling, knowing it was a chance to represent the disabled community in the historically non-inclusive fashion industry. And now is taking yet another step forward, starring in "Breaking Character," a series which documents how those with disabilities aren't properly represented in the industry.
Only 3% of onscreen talent is people with disabilities, despite the fact that about 22% of Canadians identify as having a disability. So it's really important to create that visibility, because 22% is a pretty big chunk of the population left unrepresented.
[Reporter] "Breaking Character" captures the journey these mold-breaking performers make as they navigate the fast-paced and sometimes cutthroat entertainment industry in Hollywood North. Each episode delves into the performer's daily lives, and takes the viewer behind the scenes as they go through the audition process, hone their craft, eagerly await news of whether they got the gig, and adapt to the pressures of life in the business, which Romu says was a blessing to be a part of.
It means a lot to be a part of the solution, where disability visibility is happening on screen and behind the scenes in such a moving way. This is something I couldn't have even imagined when I was lying in a hospital for my second spine surgery. It's means so much, I can't even describe.
"Breaking Character" first premiered on April 27th, with the second episode airing this Wednesday on AMI-tv. The Thunder Bay United.