Teal Sherer (yup like the color), whose an actress and paraplegic, has come a long way from the log house she grew up in in rural Tennessee. After breaking her back while riding in a car to Labor Day fireworks show when she was just 14, she found a new passion post-injury – acting – hasn’t looked back since.
After college, Teal decided to make the big move out to LA to pursue her dreams of acting. Her first break came in 2004, when she was cast in HBO’s Warm Springs (a film about the life of FDR starring Kenneth Branagh. She played a young woman with Polio. Loved this movie). She’s also been in several national commercials, including one for Liberty Mutual insurance and another that I remember from awhile ago to get people to get out and vote.
And the past couple of years, she’s developed a huge online following for the character ‘Venom’ she plays (a member of the “Axis of Anarchy”) in the web series hit, The Guild. She is mean and wears a lot of black eyeliner. Watch out.
Last winter, Teal became even more internet famous after playing (and producing) the blonde elf in a wheelchair lightsaber video that went viral last Christmas (watch here). There’s also a little person in the video, another hot chick besides Teal, cute elf outfits and some really kick butt lightsaber moves (aah the awesomeness).
But…BUT she’s much more than the “geek girl in a wheelchair” (although if you ask me that’s enough).
Why she’s fearless
Teal is THE preeminent actress in a wheelchair in Hollywood. There is no other woman in a wheelchair acting who gets cast as much as she does, but while all that sounds great the reality is that she still isn’t cast as much as she should be, which is why Teal has become an activist as well as an actress (making her an even brighter superstar in my book).
We’re all in this disability experience together; all compradres at the same front you know. It’s always better to make a difference while doing your own thing. Teal is also a member of the SAG Performers with Disabilities Committee, which just launched this really cool civil rights campaign they’re calling I AM PWD (seeking to create more employment opportunities for artists and professionals disabilities in the entertainment industry).
Changing the mind-sets of the old men that run Hollywood won’t be easy, but Teal, with her effervescent personality, is doing the best job I think anyone could.
She’s also been a dancer in the Full Radius Dance (a mixed-ability dance company) and surfs with Life Rolls On in her spare time, founded by another SCI Superstar, Jesse Billauer. I’ll have whatever awesome superstar drink Teal is having…
Big exciting news: Teal’s personal project, My Gimpy Life (produced by her company Rolling Person Productions), was picked up/funded by Dracogen Strategic Investments last fall. It’s a comedy web series showing all the funny things that happens to an actress in a wheelchair in LA. They’re producing six full episodes and the series is slated to premiere any day now.
If you watch the trailer for the series, you’ll see why I’m really excited about it (“Like uh….(from a random guy while you’re trying to get money out of on ATM)…can you have sex?” WIN (and yes, this really happened to her).
And what I really love is that Teal is only 31, which means she has decades of acting head of her. From a growing geek girl icon (she co-hosts a World of Warcraft podcast or this Oracle/Batman spoof video she made. She’s also hosting a panel at GeekGirl Con this year on disability in the media), to developing her hard acting skills, like starring in the Pulitzer-Prize-winning play Proof or her role in the short about her and a deaf man in Transients, Teal’s acting abilities have more range than the buffaloes had in the 1400’s.
Don’t put anything past this lady. I can’t wait to see where Teal’s career is 10 years from now. All it takes is one huge role (the first Academy Award winner in a wheelchair?) Hey, you never know.
Watch her videos!
– Teal Sherer’s Elf Light Saber duel
– Trailer for Teal Sherer’s upcoming web series, My Gimpy Life
– Trailer for the short, Transients
– Teal Sherer as “Oracle” Addresses the DC Comics Reboot
– Official acting reel of Teal Sherer