Meet Adam Pearson
“We all need to learn to see through the haze of media nonsense and just be honest about how we feel about ourselves, stop b*tching about each other, stop the tweeting and start talking.”
Ahead of his TEDx talk, we caught up with actor and disability rights activist Adam Pearson. Here he talks about what impact means to him, and what challenges he faces surrounding disfigurement.
What does Impact mean to you?
Impact is the effect that you and your actions not only have on the world and the people that surround you, but the lasting impression and legacy that they leave long after you have left this world.
Has there been any stand-out moments in your life/career where you have really felt the impact you made?
That’s an incredibly difficult question. As a “media guy” I am frequently told, either randomly in the street, via social networking, by industry peers, that they loved my work. However there is more to leaving an impact than simply having ones own ego bolstered by public opinion. It those moments you don’t see that are beautiful. That one kid who is going through the same thing that sees you as a role model, looks in the mirror and says “Yes I can”, those are the moment I adore.
“That’s the true beauty of leaving an impact – you never truly know the extent of it.”
As a campaigner for disability rights, what is your single biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is engaging with the public in a world that is both very fast paced and where literally everyone is desperate for attention. When I first started all this campaigning work things were much more simple – you could simply rock up to an office or a school, have a chat and hand out some flyers and things were great. However now with the advent of social media, the pace at which the charity sector moves and grows you need to be on it.
Do you have a vision of what you would like the future to be like for people living with disabilities?
The name is the game is always been and will always be equality. I know that’s a very easy thing to say and it’s going to take a lot of people making a lot of noise to achieve this, but it is something I try and keep at the heart of all my decision making.
“I never planned or wanted to be famous, I simply wanted to make the world a better place for disabled people, to make sure that no one has to go through the same experiences I’ve had to. Being very good at doing that has afforded me several great opportunities to spread this exact message on a much larger platform. TEDxBrighton is the latest of which.”
How do you think your role in the media has affected the public’s view on body image and disfigurement?
I’d like to think it has changed it for the better. The more the public see disabled people doing “non disabled” things the more incidental it’ll become. Are there still a small minority of people that hit up @Adam_Pearson on twitter and kindly remind me Im disabled, absolutely. Though it all comes down to exposure, the more people are exposed to it, the more normal it becomes and the less mysticism and hostility there will be towards disability and disfigurement in general.
What more can individuals do to elevate the conversation around body image and disfigurement?
Just talking about it is a huge start. I think half the battle is learning that it’s OK not to be OK. We live in a very media heavy culture where images of perfection are thrown at us all on an almost hourly basis. As a result we all need to learn to see through the haze of media nonsense and just be honest about how we feel about ourselves, stop b*tching about each other, stop the tweeting and start talking.
What’s the message you want people to take away from your TEDxBrighton talk?
You’ll have the wait and see!