Link December 2018 Volume 27 Issue 6 - Page 22

interview an audition for Moulin Rouge, when the casting director found out about my dance and acting experience.” Since Moulin Rouge, Kiruna has tap danced at the opening of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, debuted on British television in 2009 in the BBC series ‘All the Small Things’, and has enjoyed a successful international stage career in productions including ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘Macbeth’ and ‘The Sleeping Beauty’. But she still faces discrimination on the street and in the workplace. “There are lots of directors who would still ‘malfunction’ at the thought of me just playing a character. They can’t accept that it is ordinary that I, a person of short stature, would be there and just exist, like any human, without it ‘meaning’ something … there is a gap in their restricted thinking,” she said. “I am often the first actor with disability that an ensemble or director has worked with. The disabled body being present is still Kiruna Stamell says being a presenter on Play School is her biggest career highlight yet. Image courtesy ABC TV. considered a radical act. That’s before we ‘do’ anything.” Kiruna shares how she keeps going when faced with discrimination. “We all got ‘mini-me’ screamed at “If someone is going to us for years after the Austin Powers as a young woman applying for a job discriminate against me because of film was released.” as a legal secretary. my disability and body, they weren’t Now living predominantly in the “A school friend put me forward interested or going to accept who I UK, Kiruna said the discrimination she for a job in her office and the boss am as an artist anyway. It wouldn’t faces as a woman with dwarfism is refused to interview me because I have worked,” she said. “constant and daily”. was a ‘dwarf’,” she said. “Being filmed and photographed 22 Kiruna’s first career rejection came “I was always pursuing an acting “If I could convince them to consider me, they would want to by strangers, verbal abuse, and career, but this gave me a nudge. force me into being a stereotype or comments about my appearance are It’s what led me to sign up for extra trope. What would be the point?” the most recurring barriers I face,” work in the holidays, to help pay for she said. university, and what eventually led to interview She said discrimination is both a blessing and a curse. linkonline.com.au