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How “Game of Thrones” changed the little people

by Becky Curran

It has always been my passion to alter perceptions of how little people are portrayed in the media, which ultimately influences societal reactions. One evening, my former roommate Mikey Post, who happens to be a little person actor, and I were out celebrating his 30th birthday. The night was young and it was a great time to reflect on how much we’ve learned since moving from our respective hometowns on the east coast to Hollywood.

Becky and Mikey / Courtesy of Becky Curran

Becky and Mikey / Courtesy of Becky Curran

After coming home from an audition one night, Mikey had a disappointed look on his face. He decided not to move forward with a certain project, once he learned that the role was going to be degrading towards the little people community. Before the audition took place, he was told that he was going to play a smaller version of an actor who we all respect. Once he got there, they changed the role to a dehumanizing joke.

When he first came to Hollywood, Mikey was eager to find any job as an actor. Some auditions required any little person to show up, whether they were a girl or a guy. Over time, he learned to turn down roles that may portray little people in a negative light. This allowed for him to transform into a well-respected actor through several great roles in projects such as Bedtime Stories, Boardwalk Empire, Pair of Kings, and Santa Buddies.

As a little person who has worked behind the scenes in entertainment for six and a half years, between my experience at an agency and a studio, I’ve learned so much. In order to get my foot in the door of the industry, I went on 100 job interviews over a period of six months. I was determined to stay committed and never give up because I wanted to find a way to contribute to the positive portrayals of little people, and other people with physical differences, that we’ve begun to see in recent years.

Over time, I learned that I was not the only one who faced challenges while breaking into the industry. Once I got my foot in the door, being a little person didn’t matter. It was just always important for me to deliver on the tasks at hand.

From the moment that I started working in the industry, I learned that by keeping a positive work ethic and staying true to my values, I will accomplish more of my goals.

From Willow, The Wizard of Oz, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to Game of Thrones, Little People Big World, and Little Couple, it’s a known fact that the perceptions of little people in the media, which ultimately affects how we’re treated in society, has changed for the better in recent years. However, we still have a way to go.

There are only 30,000 little people currently living in the United States, which means that most humans may not even meet one little person in their lifetime. These demographics indicate that the little person image is solely based on what’s seen on television and in movies, due to the millions of people who watch each day.

Thanks to Peter Dinklage, people are starting to get it. As an Emmy award-winning actor in Game of Thrones, Peter Dinklage has done wonders for the little people community. Whether audiences are rooting for one of the seven families who fight for control of the land, Peter Dinklage has been viewed as an incredibly talented actor. They want to vote for the Lannisters because of him. While watching the show, people forget that he’s little, because that’s just a small part of whom he is. This is how everyone in the little people community wants to be viewed. We want to be given a chance in order to participate in an active role in today’s society.

Now that most people have seen some great talent and stories shared by little people in the media, there’s finally a new light that’s shining.

Becky Curran

About Becky Curran

Becky Curran was born a little person in Boston, Massachusetts. Most recently, she worked in television casting at CBS Television Studios, after spending 5 years working at Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles, CA. As a motivational speaker and blogger, she's on a mission to find a way to change the way little people and all people with disabilities are perceived in the media, which ultimately influences the opinions of society as a whole. You can check out her website at beckymotivates.com, her blog at beckymotivates.tumblr.com and follow her on Twitter @beckymotivates.

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