Deaf model from Starbucks’ commercial: ‘Life waits for no one’
Alma, deaf model, moved to Los Angeles with only $1,000. From right then she began to pursue her dream of being a fashion model. She works as a full-time hostess but recently was on a Starbucks advert signing about what makes her life good.
Alma was born and raised in Sierra Leone in West Africa, she has a profound hearing loss in one ear and 50 percent hearing loss in the other. She wears a single hearing aid and communicates in American Sign Language (ASL), as well as using her voice.
She now works as a full-time hostess at a café in Beverly Hills. “It was my determination and persistence to succeed that got me through, I still have no idea how I managed to survive and I didn’t give up.”
“It was my determination and persistence to succeed that got me through…”
Working in a fast-paced food environment, in one of the most popular places in California with a hearing loss is often challenging for Alma. The difficulties with conversation, managing orders and asking co-workers to repeat themselves or talk louder, often leads to frustration and isolation.
“I overcome these obstacles by teaching not only my co-workers, but also family, loved ones and friends some ASL. No matter how basic their skills may be, being able to communicate with them without being left out is one of the best feelings.”
Modeling and representing the deaf community
On her days off, Alma works as a fashion model, from doing photoshoots to runways and commercials, one of which was the Starbucks advert. After applying for different commercial roles, they finally added a Deaf role and Alma applied straight away. Hours later, she received a text from the casting crew and before she knew it, her life was about to change.
Starbucks purpose in their advert was to highlight their services being welcoming to all people. They included a diverse range of non-actors, including one with a hearing loss. Alma described in the commercial, how being surrounded by friends and family personally is good to her.
“Working on the Starbucks commercial was one of the most amazing things that happened to me since moving to LA. Since then, more doors have opened, I’ve signed with a commercial agent and I’ve been going to different castings. I’m loving every second of it!”
With new doors, open Alma is looking forward to accomplishing more of her goals.
“One of my top goals is to get signed by a top modeling agency. I also plan become a business owner and most of all, to inspire as many people as I can and help make the world a better place. Change begins with us.”
“I also plan become a business owner and most of all, to inspire as many people as I can and help make the world a better place. Change begins with us.”
In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, spending some time alone, reading and being creative with her ideas with hopes of turning them into reality.
Her motto is: “Life waits for no one! Make the most of it with every precious time you have left! Dream and act on it! Laugh and be grateful! Lend a hand to those in need and however, you can.”