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Meet Keyla Garcia

Today we’d like to introduce you to Keyla Garcia.

Hi Keyla, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I identify with the pronouns, she/hers and I am Deaf. The usual first question that others ask me, in regards to my story, is the question: How did I become Deaf?

In my opinion, I was born Deaf, however, my parents have conflicting theories about that. One of my parents states that I was born Deaf, while the other states that I was born hearing, became ill and that caused me to lose my hearing. So, I am not exactly sure of the accurate storyline in terms of the details but I have always identified medically, as well as, culturally as Deaf person. I grew up in a household with both of my parents using sign language. I have been learning American Sign Language (ASL) since I was born, it is my first native language and I graduated from Marlton School for the Deaf (this was my high school). Within that school, as well as, the Deaf community, I have always had an innate nature to be an active leader. However, during those school years, I did experience other students bullying me due to my appearance while dealing with family issues at home (outside of school). This caused a lot of anger and frustration within me as a young teen, however, I was able to alleviate this stress by expressing myself through the arts. The arts included ASL poetry, acting, cheerleading, dance and more. This led me to be very active in school and to notice my skills as a creative person. I also had some amazing mentors like Lauren Maucere, who really was like a mother to me and cared about my dreams. I am very thankful for her and all the staff at that school that believe in me, they were vital for me, becoming who I am today.

After high school, I attended El Camino Community College for about two years, I was doing great in school with a 4.0 GPA but sadly my motivation at that institution didn’t stay so I decided to drop and go straight into the workforce. During this time, I met Flo (Ashlee) McHenry, she was interested in hanging out and becoming friends. We became best friends and she actually guided me through the application process for Cal State University of Northridge (CSUN) and they accepted me. I was so shocked because I didn’t think I would have qualified. I was involved as the only Deaf dancer in the MataDoll Majorette team, thank you Kyle Wallace for that amazing opportunity and experience.

Sadly my time at CSUN came to an end, due to financial issues and I went back to the workforce full-time. However, I was still in the arts and I actually met my love, Jataun Gilbert, who has believed, loved, and motivated me for almost five years now. He actually started my modeling career. I was doing modeling and dancing on the side while working in other forms of employment. Recently, Flo (@floetyc) reached out to me with interest in becoming my manager and ASL interpreter, so here we are now!

I am now in this full-time journey of being an entrepreneur as a model, dancer, actress and Deaf interpreter (with @probonoasl currently). I am thankful for all the opportunities, individuals and communities that have supported me. I never thought I would be able to do these things or to even have a “story” so I am beyond blessed on this ongoing journey.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The challenges and obstacles that I face as a Deaf entrepreneur, well first off this world has accommodated hearing individuals as the majority, which includes everything being accessible for hearing individuals. Thus there is little to no full access for me, as a Deaf person. That means I continually have to figure out how to navigate in this world. I have to find and provide access for myself as a deaf person and for other deaf people within the community. This is due to the fact that a lot of people are afraid of approaching different individuals from different cultures, such as hearing to Deaf and/or Deaf to hearing. For example as a Deaf person, if I want to build a brand and a business, I am going to have to be in communication/collaboration with a hearing person at some point of the process and I will need to either educate, advocate and/or request for access, no matter how awkward it may be. I encourage hearing people and Deaf people, to get over this fear, work together and so we all can be successful.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a Deaf Afro-Latina, Model, Dancer, Actress and Deaf Interpreter.

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
You can always contact me (official.keylag@gmail.com) or contact my manager (mgmt@floetyc.com), so we can have a discussion about the possible ways we can collaborate/work together.

Do not be afraid to work with me, remember there are so many ways to communicate, so please contact me through email and/or my video phone.

I would love to work with you!

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Nicolett Electra from Electric Victory

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