You may have seen Treshelle Edmond perform at the Super Bowl in 2015 with John Legend and Idina Menzel. She was born in San Bernardino, California and went on to study at California State University, Northridge where she studied child and adolescent development. So how did she end up as a performer? At 18 months old, Treshelle was diagnosed with severe to profound hearing loss in both ears. As she grew up, she developed a love for the stage. By high school, Treshelle booked guest starring roles on a slew of TV shows, like performing in the deaf choir on “Glee.” As an actress, model and ASL performer, Treshelle is a stand out in the entertainment industry. Culturas was fortunate enough to learn more about her!
1. Hi Treshelle! Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
Bonjour! I am known for my work in television (House, M.D., Glee, Master of None), film (Jay and Silent Bob Reboot) and Broadway: Deaf West’s Spring Awakening and Children of a Lesser God.
2. Can you dive into your experience working as an actress who is deaf and what you love about performing?
My experience working as a deaf actress was a new breakthrough for me in seeing how the interpreter interpreted what the director wanted when it came to the stage or on television. You want to be sure you are able to deliver the right message in their vision. I love connecting the story and my experience altogether where the audience can relate the most. To tell you the truth, when I perform it is the most liberating feeling to touch another person’s soul so that they know they are not alone.
3. Do you have any advice for parents who are raising kids who are deaf?
My advice for parents who are raising kids that are deaf is to be sure they have their strong foundation of who they are first. Be more involved with the deaf community so they do not feel left out or like they are missing out. Also, parents should want to educate themselves more and put effort in learning their language so deaf kids do not feel heavily responsible for both worlds. Not everybody is capable of it, but it is most important to learn more about deaf history because it is THEIR HISTORY.
4. In your recent YouTube video “My Deaf Identity,” you touch on embracing your D/HH (deaf/hard of hearing). What have been pivotal moments or realizations in your journey of self acceptance?
I am still healing on my journey to accept that big part of me. I am grateful that my mom raised me to be confident in who I am regardless. Once I saw the other BIPOC D/HH who are just like me, how they are embracing their sign language and being themselves made me realize I can do so much more than what I already know.
5. In your opinion, how can the entertainment industry be a more inclusive place?
In my opinion, I know the entertainment industry is still a work in progress. They are still learning and educating themselves to be more inclusive for all. All I know is it needs the right people that can help out for the best interests of others, not for themselves. That includes having more diverse people behind the scenes. You have to include deaf people in order to tell a deaf story.
6. Is there anything else you would like to add?