Sofiya Cheyenne uses acting to advocate for little people.
“Little people, I think, have been fighting since the beginning of time to not be seen as a freak,” she stated. “There are two percent of disabled actors in this industry and we make up 20% of the population.”
Cheyenne says that, when it comes to disabilities and acting, we mostly see able-bodied actors playing disabled characters, though there are plenty of disabled actors who would be able to play them instead.
Cheyenne has been on the stage since she was two years old, when she started dancing. She later went on to get her BFA in acting and her BA in psychology. But she said she knew acting professionally would be a struggle.
“It kind of was necessary for me to combine advocacy and artistry together,” she said. “I definitely didn’t realize that I was ‘different’ until someone pointed it out at me.”
Cheyenne said the little person community is “invisible but on display all the time.” They’re invisible in the sense that the world doesn’t give them much structure to live successfully, yet she is constantly stared at, and made an example of.
“As a performer I want to be taken seriously and I want to be seen as a person,” she said. “I want to live in a world where the elf and the leprechaun and the fantasy isn’t my only option.”