Christophe is a person living with a dwarfism. He is a drummer, actor, stuntman, entertainer, businessman, and an avid surfer. Christophe talks about life as a short-statured individual living in a world made for average height people. A place where many things are out of reach, over his head, and h…
A compilation of my guests from seasons one and two talking about how their lives would be different if they weren't little. We only have the life we are living, but I thought it would be interesting to see if anyone had thought of how their life would be if they weren't short-statured. 15 individuals share what they think their lives would be like if they didn't have dwarfism.
A compilation of my guests from seasons one and two talking about what they find is the most difficult thing about dwarfism. There are many built-in struggles for little people. 15 individuals share what they have struggled with the most.
My move to Los Angeles took a lot of effort, was scary, and completely changed my world. Though some of the jobs I worked were bad or didn’t treat me as I deserved to be treated, there were many that treated me really well. Some of them were fun, some paid well, and I learned from all of them. This is the story of my move across the country and my first gigs in Hollywood.
How many times have you seen a little person play just a person in a commercial on TV? Or in an internet spot? If you haven’t seen this before or, you’re not alone. However, Alexia (fittingly pronounced Ah-Lex-Uh) Vassos broke this streak by being featured in an Amazon holiday shopping commercial in the Fall of 2020 - and she played a human person. Alexia talks about what the commercial means to her and how she is striving to appropriately represent the dwarfism community. Thanks to John Lee Dumas for suggesting my subtitle!
Receiving terrible treatment from a certain agent for live events has worn me down. I recently heard from them and we had an annoying and contentious text conversation. Listen in as I recount the conversation and talk about the reasons for my reaction to this agent. It’s not okay to treat people in a disrespectful manner and saying no can be one of the most important lessons to learn. Connect with Christophe: @bigdealpod Thanks to John Lee Dumas for suggesting my subtitle!
What would you do if you were a little person and someone snuck a photo of you to criticize your stature on social media? This situation happened to Kevin Ton. He retaliated in a physical way because he felt threatened and violated. Though he’s normally a collected and rational person, being treated in this inhumane way is hurtful and makes you feel powerless. Kevin discusses the incident and how this treatment can have lasting effects on one’s self-confidence.
From working with Bill Gates, Bono, and Barack Obama, to helping impoverished people living in villages deep into third world countries, Michele Sullivan’s impact is larger than life. Even though she’s 4 feet tall, her outreach has been widespread. Her book “Looking Up” tells the story of how navigating her dwarfism planted a seed that inspired her to help people across the globe. In her TED Talk, she explains her belief that everyone in life should be taken seriously. And in our discussion, Michele shares some incredible stories of life, compassion, and unity. Connect with Michele Sullivan: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michele.sullivan.148 Thanks to John Lee Dumas for suggesting my subtitle
Sassee Cassee began dancing in gentleman’s clubs at age 18. Being 2’10” and having a driven personality, she was noticed quickly. Her 13 years as an exotic dancer has been quite eventful. She’s had to figure out how to navigate all of the traveling, the high-profile clientele, and her being fetishized based on her appearance. Sassee Cassee talks about why she loves her job as a stripper and how kindness is always at the front of her mind. Thanks to John Lee Dumas for suggesting my subtitle! Show Notes: Connect with Sassee Cassee: IG: @sasseecassee89
For Pancho Moler, skateboarding was the sport where he found himself and felt accepted as a little person. Becoming a sponsored skateboarder and being featured in magazines for his talent made him feel validated. But when the industry decided to treat Pancho like a gimmick, he had to come to terms with being othered on a global level. Pancho talks frankly about shutting the door on his dream career, dealing with substance abuse, and how he transitioned to a new life in the world of acting. Connect with Pancho: IG: @panchomolerp Thanks to John Lee Dumas for suggesting my subtitle!
Bi-sexuality and dwarfism are a unique combination. Little people face many challenges on a daily basis regardless of their sexuality. For Sarah Hunt, 4 foot 6 inches, identifying as bi-sexual hasn’t made her life any easier. Hunt was bullied for her size and shape in school. Although the combination of her sexual orientation and having to have multiple surgeries was difficult to navigate, in the end, she found herself stronger having had those tough experiences. Thanks to John Lee Dumas for suggesting my subtitle!
One of the biggest struggles for little people is finding clothes that fit and look good. The apparel options at traditional stores are not made with short-statured individuals in mind. Dru Presta is over what the department stores have to offer. She’s decided to take matters into her own hands and start creating clothes that specifically little people. Her brand: Short Favor makes clothes with short-statured individuals in mind and caters to their unique body type. She’s frustrated with the amount of fabric being cut off and wasted from her clothing items. Frequently, alterations are required to shorten sleeves and pant legs. But even after paying high fees at the tailor, the clothes still don’t fit correctly or look respectable. Connect with Dru:@short.favor https://shortfavorclothing.com Thanks to John Lee Dumas for suggesting my subtitle!
Limb lengthening is a relatively misunderstood medical procedure. However, Kristen DeAndrade knew it’s what she wanted for herself at a very young age. At 12 years old she went through with the first lengthening operation which led to her having two external fixators attached to her lower legs. Her tibias were broken in two places and she used the medical ‘bird cages’ to tease the bone into growing longer by stretching the gaps daily. This operation is not only involved, it takes a lot of time and effort to come out of it with the desired result. Even though Kristen gained 10 inches in length, she still received ridicule and offensive comments about her appearance and even for her decision to lengthen her limbs. Someone even wrote ‘Midgets Suck’ in a very visible and public place in her community. Kristen wrote a memoir to highlight her experience called Little Legs Big Heart. Thanks to John Lee Dumas for suggesting my subtitle!
Little people have a history of being portrayed in media as dehumanized and unreal characters. The majority of roles for little people in movies, TV shows, and commercials have been demeaning, degrading, and misrepresentative of their actual experience. These roles include leprechauns, elves, munchkins, oompa loompas, Chucky, and others. Nic Novicki realized that the best way for little people and others with disabilities to have the world see them in a real light was to start the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge. https://disabilityfilmchallenge.com/
Using words to describe individuals who look different is a practice that goes back centuries. In recent years, people have used very offensive terms when referring to little people and African-Americans. Little people have been called ‘midget’, and African-Americans have been called the N-word. However, some people have likened the act of calling a person with dwarfism a midget to calling an African-American the N-word. Ali Chapman helps navigate this discussion and describes her experience as a 3’8” black woman. Ali outlines important points as to why there is a distinct difference between the two words. She talks about her first-hand encounters and how she has felt when she’s been called both of these words. A major takeaway from this discussion is that putting yourself in people’s shoes and thinking about their experience before you say something negative is a best practice.
Ali’s life with dwarfism has its challenges. Growing up in Indiana and seeking protection from pointed and harsh comments, Ali learned at a young age how to cover up in winter to disguise herself as a child so no one would realize that she was a little person - she practiced this behavior later into her teens. Having no ambition to leave high school and being met with constant rejection in the real world, she knows what it’s like to be the center of negative attention. Ali shares her passion for Black Lives Matter and what the movement means to her. She talks about how she’s come to own her dwarfism, her blackness, and her femininity. She explains the ways she would be protected by her dwarfism if she were to be in a racially charged situation. Ali possesses a vibrant passion for diversity and supports advocating for racial, disabled, dwarfism, LGBTQ, and anyone who is perceivably different in society.
Dwarfism may be the first thing people notice about a person, but there is so much more to Little People than having short limbs. In fact, data shows that less than 1% of Americans are diagnosed. In Season 2, your host Christophe Zajac-Denek, who is diagnosed with a type of Dwarfism called Cartilage Hair Hypoplasia talks with authors, actors, clothing designers, advocates, and business people about race, disabilities, limb lengthening, sexuality and so much more –– he’s excited to share these huge stories with you.
Welcome to the intro! The beginning. The overview. In this episode, Jenny and I have a general discussion about my life with dwarfism. We talk about my having to see doctors, getting surgeries in my youth, work I've done, relationships I've had, and how I'd rather talk on the phone with people instead of text. Thank you for listening! We're so excited to have you along for our maiden voyage. Feel free to drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org Also, you can follow us on IG: @bigdealpod Facebook: @bigdealpod --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/imkindofabigdeal/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/imkindofabigdeal/support