I started drumming when I was 15. Drums just made sense to me because I could grab the sticks easily, guitar and bass necks are too wide for my small hands. So I came home from school every single day and played drums for two hours. That's just what I did.
After college I toured the US and Europe for six years. I had a ton of fun, it was truly the time of my life. But every single time we would show up to a new venue, people would see me and just...stare, thinking, ‘Why is there a midget walking through the bar with a drum kit right now?’ I had already developed a really thick skin at that point, and I knew how to ignore it - or so I thought.
When I was 18, I went to my first LPA (Little People of America) event. There were probably 35 other little people there. The moment I left my car, I was completely overwhelmed and felt like I just did not belong there. I was very rebellious about who I was and very ableist in my own mind.
I was a late bloomer and I wanted to date girls, but it just never happened for me. In junior college, I went to a house party and met a woman, very tall and beautiful. She squatted down in front of me and we were talking for a minute, and then she suddenly kissed me. This was the first time that had ever happened to me. The next day, I thought to myself, ‘Oh, that was just a mistake.’ Two weeks later, I went to another party and so did she - we made out again and spent the night on the couch. But I kept thinking, ‘She didn't actually want to do that.’ I wasn't thinking about me having value and couldn’t imagine that she wasn't making a mistake and actually wanted to be close to me.
After moving to Hollywood, I got into some commercials where I was playing roles that would have been very difficult to animate and I thought that was really, really fun. But it took me a couple of years to figure out that little people aren't seen as people in the industry. My face got covered up so many times with prosthetics, glue and goop, special effects makeup, foam, and alien heads and furry monsters - the list goes on.
What I want to see is brands who are brave enough to put us in a situation where we actually live. People of all different races, all different heights, and all different abilities as actual people, as human beings. Let’s move past the labels and just show people who have heart - and allow their hearts to be seen. It makes you so much more of a person.