Actress Zyra Gorecki is one happy camper ─ literally and figuratively! It is because she attends Camp No Limits that she landed her breakout role as Izzy Harris on NBC’s ‘La Brea.’
Camp No Limits’ isn’t geared toward theater training per se. It’s more of a typical camp experience for children with limb differences. It just so happens that casting executives reached out to camp counselors in search of a teen amputee to portray Izzy. Gorecki not only fits the bill physically but she’s quickly winning over viewers with her acting chops.
Adapting with Limb Loss
At the age of 13, Gorecki lost her leg in a logging accident in rural Michigan. Trying to cut lumber for her home’s woodstove, a large log fell and crushed her foot which led to amputation. It wasn’t long after that Gorecki became a Camp No Limits attendee and the rest, as they say, is history.
Gorecki’s television portrayal is sort of historic too. You see, representation of people with disabilities is, unfortunately, lacking. Even though 26% of American adults have some type of disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control, only 2.4% of all speaking or named characters in films are shown with a disability, according to a study by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. The staggering gap between 2.4% and 26% is unacceptable and perplexing.
More importantly, 2.4% doesn’t represent the reality of our diverse world and, thus, the diversity of television and film viewers. Thankfully, viewers are finally voicing support of inclusive casting. A recent ‘Disability Inclusion in Movies and Television’ survey by the Ruderman Family Foundation found that “half of U.S. households support accurate portrayals of disabled characters and would sign up for a content distributor committed to disabled actors. Their spending power is estimated at $10.4 billion per month for U.S. households.”
Kickstarting Diversity Inclusion
Gorecki says she’s excited to amp up the chatter surrounding disability inclusion within the entertainment field and beyond. In fact, the now 19-year-old, who stands a striking 6-feet-tall, first put herself out into the world as a model with the goal of inspiring other young girls with limb loss and varying disabilities. Gorecki is also vocal about her battle with anxiety.
“I hope that some person or little kid or whoever it is will see me and go, ‘I can do it, too.’ I hope one day I will be a good role model to somebody,” she shared in an interview with northjersey.com.”
‘La Brea’ debuted on September 28, 2021, and some critics are comparing this sci-fi drama to ‘Lost’ which aired from 2004 to 2010. In the premiere wearing a black blade prosthetic, Gorecki’s character outruns a massive sinkhole that swallows her mother, brother and much of downtown Los Angeles. In real life, Gorecki sports a prosthetic by Amputee Blade Runners, a non-profit organization that helps provide free running prosthetics for amputees.
During the series, viewers will follow Izzy and her father as they set out to find their family and other lost Californians. Watch ‘La Brea’ on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC or later on Peacock and Hulu.
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Feature photo image credit: IMDb