From the moment 15-year-old Tai sang along to Alicia Keys in the car as a child, he knew he wanted to perform. And he’s on his way to doing just that, professionally.
As a student in the Arts Unionville high school program, he’s training to bring his dreams of singing on Broadway to life—either as Evan Hansen, or Damian from Mean Girls. And while he’s already acted in commercials and productions through his musical theatre group, to-date, one of Tai’s favourite performances was playing Ren in Footloose.
“It was not something you’d expect, considering I do use a wheelchair and he’s a break dancer but, we made it work.”
The joy of playing different characters is one reason Tai is pursuing an acting career. Another reason is to advocate for accurate representation of disability in the media, something that Tai feels is lacking.
“When [a person with a disability does get] cast, most of those roles are the sick person in the wheelchair that needs help. It’s often not a character that’s just living their life,” he says.
“It puts the false image of people with disabilities having to go through all of the struggles that you see on TV, when really I don’t really get socially affected by my disability. But the media will always show that [storyline].”