Friday, March 13, 2015

American Horror Story's Jamie Brewer Visits CofC to Campaign Against the "R" Word

Jamie Brewer Advocates for Ending the "R" Word

Jamie Brewer, a rising star in Hollywood, graced the CofC community with her presence Wednesday evening as she talked about overcoming the adversity of Down syndrome and ending the “R” word. Brewer is most known in her roles on Ryan Murphy's popular television horror anthology American Horror Story. Her most recent role was in AHS's third season Coven, in which she played the role of a young witch named Nan with the ability to hear the thoughts of people nearby.

Brewer (right) as Nan on AHS: Coven

Brewer instantly put a smile on everyone’s face as she made her grand entrance onto the stage in the Stern Center ballroom. Her beaming personality filled the room with as much joy as she portrays on film. The message she delivered was short but powerful: End the “R” word. She is one of many advocates for the end the word campaign that has gained a strong foothold over the past seven years. Brewer stressed the point that the word is both offensive and derogatory, and that we should replace it with a new “R” word - Respect.

Make "Respect" the New "R" Word

But her message didn’t stop there. Brewer continued on to say that everyone, including those with disabilities, can make their mark on the world simply by following their heart and following the talents that make them unique. “If I can do it, anyone can,” Brewer said.

Some of the most eager attendees of this event were the members of CofC's Best Buddies program. Best Buddies is a volunteer run program with the purpose of providing opportunities to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One of the most important things Jamie did Wednesday night was to provide the "buddies" with a powerful role model that they can relate to. "Just like individuals without an IDD, our buddies are often influenced by the commercial industry and think they have to be perfect," said Bailie Sparks, a CofC student volunteer for Best Buddies. "Hearing Jamie speak did nothing but encourage everyone, especially our buddies!"

Not only does Brewer act, but she also is pursuing a college degree, studying subjects that include French and calligraphy. Even in her academic studies she finds artistic outlets! Brewer did note that she has been taking a break from school while shooting AHS.

When Brewer isn't acting alongside the magnificent Jessica Lange, she's busy being an inspiration in almost everything else she does. She most recently made history as the first model with Down Syndrome at New York Fashion Week. She appeared in Carrie Hammer’s line “Role Models Not Runway Models,” sporting a black AHS inspired outfit.

Brewer and I pose for a photo

Despite who you are, there are many lessons that can be learned from this amazing actress. She proves to the world that anything is possible even when faced with adversity. Now that she has risen into the public spotlight, she is using her fame to make things easier on those with similar challenges. Everyone who attended her talk at CofC was rewarded with a hug and picture with Brewer, and a chance to sign the pledge against the “R” word. If you would like to follow in her footsteps and join the cause, you can sign the pledge and view the campaign here.

Brewer may not have become the Supreme in Coven, but she is definitely supreme in real life.