Even over a video name, Raven Sutton’s power is infectious — as daring and shiny as her cobalt-blue hair. The 27-year-old just lately made historical past as the primary deaf contestant to ever enter Netflix’s playful actuality sequence “The Circle.” However in all honesty, she’s simply right here to play the sport (and perhaps even win). Sutton was initially launched to the present whereas looking for leisure on the peak of the pandemic. “I might contemplate myself a brilliant fan. Let’s be clear on that,” she establishes straight away, her two interpreters bridging the hole between American Signal Language and spoken phrase. “I liked the drama on it, I liked the connections. I imply every thing about it,” she tells POPSUGAR. Nonetheless, she rapidly realized that watching “The Circle” was nothing in comparison with the thrill of being on the present herself.
“You do not see deaf folks on actuality TV exhibits.”
After beginning the present in quarantine, Sutton was hooked. “As I am watching it, I am like, ‘Oh, I might completely see myself enjoying this recreation,'” she remembers. The one factor stopping her? “It is by no means occurred earlier than,” she says. “You do not see deaf folks on actuality TV exhibits.”
Honestly, she will suppose of some logistical obstacles. “If I am on one other present with 15 different folks, what would that seem like? Me being there with the interpreter, and even on ‘Love Is Blind’ or ‘Too Scorching to Deal with’? I do not understand how I am going to do this,” she says. “I am like, do I really need the interpreter there after I’m attempting to kick it . . . attempting to put up on a bit daddy quantity?”
However “The Circle” was completely different (though the “daddy numbers” didn’t disappoint). In essence, the secret is to win over the opposite gamers from behind a display screen. Every contestant, housed in their very own non-public condominium, should create a social media profile, both as their true self or as a catfish. By constructing connections, rating each other, and regularly voting one another off, the most well-liked profiles make it to the tip, the place their true identities are lastly revealed to at least one one other. The final individual standing receives a grand prize of $100,000.
“‘The Circle’ was the proper system,” Sutton says. “We’re in an condominium, we’re speaking to different gamers, and I can see how I might make it work.” After discovering the motivation to submit her utility (on a whim at 4 within the morning), the producers rapidly fell in love together with her (and her charismatic interpreter, Paris McTizic). “My recommendation for these people could be to only do it,” Sutton emphasizes, talking primarily to the disabled group. “Actually, they want you greater than you want them. Try to be interviewing them. That is the mindset that I went with.”
In Sutton’s expertise, making historical past is all about angle. “I like the present, however I used to be what the present was lacking. Let’s be very clear on that,” she says. It is this actual spirit that is carried Sutton by most of her life, together with a interval when she felt like nobody actually understood her.
“I used to be what the present was lacking. Let’s be very clear on that.”
After transferring from Alabama to Atlanta within the fourth grade, Sutton entered a public college with just about no sources for her. As an alternative of interpreters, she was put in special-education courses. And upon tiring of lecturers who did not know methods to work together with her and classes that weren’t academically difficult sufficient, she began appearing out. “I used to be the category clown. I used to be simply slicing up, speaking, making noises, as a result of I used to be like, ‘I do not even know what is going on on,'” Sutton explains.
Coming from a third-generation deaf household, Sutton knew there needed to be different choices. Lastly, a summer time camp led her to the Alabama College For the Deaf. “I used to be like, ‘I wish to see my cousins. I wish to be taught extra in regards to the language and who I’m,'” she says. After convincing her mother to let her attend within the eighth grade, she virtually lived on campus, connecting with members of the family, studying about her dad, who a lot of her lecturers knew earlier than his passing, and at last receiving the right lodging.
Within the public colleges, Sutton was bullied for her deafness. However on the College For the Deaf, it was a very completely different story. “I am like, ‘At this college, you may’t bully me. If we’re the identical individual, we’re bullying one another. What are you saying?'” she laughs. She rapidly rattles off just a few of her accomplishments, which embrace changing into cheerleading captain, collaborating within the Educational Bowl, and changing into the category valedictorian. If it wasn’t already clear from her radiant persona, Sutton’s historical past confirms that she’s at all times been a star.
Now, she hopes folks see her, not as somebody getting into “The Circle” as a result of they’re deaf, however as somebody getting into “The Circle” who simply occurs to be deaf. “Sure, I’ve a incapacity. I’m deaf, however that is it,” Sutton says. “I am nonetheless residing life each single day, the identical as you. I nonetheless must get this cash and pay my payments each month, similar to you. I am nonetheless going to the membership and turning up, similar to you. I am nonetheless flirting with this man or girl or whoever y’all curious about,” she says.
“Life could be boring if we have been all cookie-cutter — all the identical,” she provides. “Please, uh-uh. I should be my very own Raven.”