Most people view a disability as something that hampers personal progress. However, some people show us that a disability can become a superpower. Angel Theory has refused to let her disability put her down. Instead, she is using her perceived disadvantage to make a name for herself in the acting industry.
Angel is famous for her role as Kelly in The Walking Dead. Keep reading to discover more about this phenomenal woman.
A car accident led to her hearing impairment
Angel developed her hearing impairment after being in a car accident. She sustained injuries and nerve damage which caused her to lose hearing in her right ear. Angel later noticed that she was also losing hearing in her left ear. She revealed in an email sent to Insider; “Now I wear hearing aids in both ears, but my audiologist informed me of the possibility of hearing aids not being enough for me as time goes on.”
Theory initially feared that hearing loss would affect her dancing and choreography
When Angel started losing her hearing, she feared that it would affect her dancing and choreography. She hadn’t started acting at the time.
Theory prided herself in never missing the beat. Her deteriorating hearing, therefore, presented a challenge. The ever-innovative Angel adapted by using sight reading. She told The Washington Post:
“So I feel the music first while listening with my hearing aids, and then, just to be sure that I’m getting every note possible, I try to print it out and read the music as well. That way, no matter what, I’m always on beat. I feel like, if anything, it’s made me pay way more attention to the music and get into it and feel it more.”
Angel also utilized technology which helped her feel the beat vibrations. However, she told The Washington Post that she doesn’t want to get dependent on those accessories. Angel explained:
“It’s mainly me just trying to focus on getting to understand the music, just like how I know my ABCs. So that’s the basics of how I’m able become the music instead of trying to dance with it.”
Her story was incorporated into her character in The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead’s showrunner, Angela Kang, was aware that Angel was losing hearing in her left ear. She decided to ask Angel whether she was okay with telling her story through her character. Angela told Insider;
“Angel Theory has been going through her own journey. She pretty much had no hearing in one ear, but then was progressively and very rapidly losing the hearing in her other ear. We had to deal with the fact that at a certain point, the actress herself may not be able to hear. Rather than fight against that, we just thought we’d make it part of the story.”
Angel told the directors that she was okay with telling her story. Theory worked with the directors and writers to make sure that they incorporated as much as they could about her. Theory appreciates the fact that Angela and the writers took the time to contact her and ask her about her condition. Angel wrote in an email sent to Insider;
“Angela Kang and the writers are setting an example for others who work with deaf actors in this industry. They could have just wrote in whatever they find on Google, but instead they asked me and took the time to understand the good, the bad, everything in between.”
Angel’s mom inspired one of the most emotional scenes on The Walking Dead
Angel’s mom helped her a lot after Angel started to lose her hearing. Thanks to her mom, Angel started to pay close attention to facial expressions and body language. She also gave Angel words of encouragement whenever Angel felt down. One of the most powerful things her mom told her about her hearing loss was; “It’s not a disability, it’s your damn superpower.”
This line was incorporated into the season 10 premiere. The scene played out when Kelly’s sister, Connie (Lauren Ridloff), confronted her about her hearing loss. Kelly admitted that she was losing her hearing in her left ear.
Kelly was concerned that she couldn’t interpret for Connie anymore because she was losing her hearing. Connie consoled her and told her that they were a team in spite of anything. She then told her that she was developing a superpower and not a disability. It was one of the most emotional and empowering scenes in the entire series.
Angel revealed in her email; “I remember how depressed, devastated, and angry I got with myself after hearing loss. My mom told me, ‘It’s not a disability, it’s your damn superpower.’ I remember sharing that with Ms. Kang and it was refreshing to see that play out with Connie saying those same words to Kelly… Those words changed everything for me.”
Angel and Lauren Ridloff are teaching their castmates how to sign
Angel’s castmates have been very supportive of her and Lauren. They are making an effort to learn sign language so that they can communicate better. Angel and Lauren have taken it upon themselves to teach their castmates how to sign. Angel revealed in her email;
“For the most part, I send videos of myself signing to some cast members such as Cooper, Cassady, and Nadine. When Lauren and I are on set, we teach phrases or words to those that are open to learning, and that is usually everyone.”
She is currently dating long-time girlfriend Dika Caray
Angel admitted that she likes girls when a section of fans questioned her sexuality. She posted a tweet on 27th November 2018 saying; “Yes I’m a girl who likes girls… Nothing complicated about it… Some of ya act like you never heard the word ‘GAY’ before. I am proud of who I am. As long as God, my family, friends and fans love me for who I am I’m not stressing about your negative attitude.”
Angel is currently in a relationship with Dika Caray. Dika and Angel have been together since 2015.