Sarah Gordy MBE is an actor and a dancer. She has appeared in many BBC shows such as Upstairs Downstairs, Call the Midwife, Holby City and Doctors as well as short films, radio dramas, commercials and many theatre productions.
Here, she tells us about her career and her involvement with the Radical Beauty Project.
My name is Sarah Gordy, I have Down’s syndrome but that’s not all that I am. I always say that. I am an actor and a woman first, it is the same for all of us. If you have met one person with Down’s syndrome you have met one person. We are all individuals.
I have been a professional actor for a long time now and I am pleased to say things have changed a lot. This has happened because creative people are beginning to see difference as an opportunity, not a problem.
Writers are beginning to create complex
characters who happen to be different, and that is interesting. In June 2018, “Jellyfish” the play by Ben Weatherill premiered at The Bush, London. It is the story of a first kiss, chips by the beach and coming of age in modern Britain. It’s a unique romance across uncharted waters which asks: does everyone really have the right to love as they choose? It is totally different.
When I met Daniel Vais he opened a whole new dimension to my life. I am very physical, I love to dance. Daniel introduced me to the world of Kraftwerk and other modern dance. I felt liberated. I could escape my politeness and express passion and violence as well as other emotions. I dance like I act, there is an inner story and my body reacts to the story. Often the first time I hear the music is when they are setting Sound and Lights, the second is the performance. It is raw and I feel the audience is breathing with me. It is wonderful.
Other dancers joined Culture Device and Daniel saw beauty in us. Talented and famous photographers from around the world shared this vision.
Radical Beauty is a collection of amazing images using only models with Down’s syndrome. Daniel Vais is fierce when he says “this is not charity, this is art, this is fashion”. The photographs are amazing and so different, it will change attitudes and be a real treasure. Each model is unique, each photographer a top artist. Some images are challenging, the child soldier with a devastated soul is haunting, photographed by Gottfried Helwein. I am so proud to be involved and really loved being styled as Marilyn Monroe photographed by Elise Dumontet and as a Fashion Model by Zuzia.
For me this project is so vital. Maybe one day there will be fewer people like me with Down’s syndrome. These images should be part of our cultural history saved for future generations.
Thank you to Sarah for this fascinating blog!
If you are an artist with Down’s syndrome and would like to get involved in future projects, please visit www.culturedevice.org to find out more.
More information about the Radical Beauty Project available at radicalbeautyproject.com