We had the pleasure to interview this amazing upcoming deaf actress and got to know a little bit more about her personal life and career. Stephanie has great personality and always so humble and nice to give us so much attention for our little “Switched at Birth” community. Here it is: (BT=Bemmett Times SN= Stephanie Nogueras)
BT: We saw on your bio that your parents are hearing, but they raised you in the deaf community, what was your biggest challenge as a deaf kid in a hearing family?
SN: In case you do not know, I am a Puerto Rican-American. For every occasion, my family loves to spend time together to have a good time. They talk fast fluently in Spanish/English back and forth. I always miss good conversations every time they laugh which I loathe the most because I wanted to know what is go on and get involved with them. It can be frustrating. However, they do not know American Sign Language to interpret for me. Other than that, I am grateful to have my parents, sister, few of my relatives know how to communicate with me in sign language. From the bottom of my heart, that means so much to me because it does make me feel like a part of family.
BT: When did you first decide you wanted to become an actress or model?
SN: During the college years, after the modeling competition I decided to be a model. Several photographers enjoyed using my hair for photos, which was fun. After a little while, I searched for more. I moved to California to pursue a career in modeling. Unfortunately, not many opportunities for petite models in Los Angeles. In the fashion industry has height requirements for models which is 5’8 or above. I simply thought that is ridiculous because petite models are also beautiful. I moved on to other options and there is Switched at Birth. You see, acting chose me. I got an opportunity to audition for the role of Natalie. The results were my natural instincts and ability won the Producers over. That is what you call a lucky break or a blessing. (BT: Lucky us that got to see you on the screen of SAB!!)
BT: Is there any particular interesting story of your childhood you would like to share with us?
SN: An interesting story of my childhood... ballet. Oh, I miss that. Here is a story, when I was a little girl; around 5 years old, I started dancing ballet with all hearing ballerinas. I was focused all the time because I fell madly in love with ballet. My main goal was be a professional ballerina. I enjoyed dancing all through years until I had a car accident. I was not dancing for few years. One day, my mother decided taking me to the audition at the Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia. The Rock School for Dance Education is one of the nation's top pre-professional training programs. Even I reminded her that I did not dancing Ballet for a few years due to the car accident. Yet, I went for audition with all hearing ballerinas. I was nervous and looked at all professional ballerinas. They looked nicely and quietly looked at me as a deaf girl. They might wonder how could I hear music. I tried my best and danced away in front of a professor. In few weeks later, I got a call that I made it! My parents told me that I have two choices, between the Rock School for Dance and Maryland School for the Deaf. I had to make a difficult decision after a long thinking. My final decision was Maryland School for the Deaf. My family and I moved to Maryland till I graduated from Maryland School for the Deaf. Throughout years, I still look back and miss ballet. I save tutus, body wears, childhood ballet slippers, and pointe shoes in the box ever since. (BT: After that we wonder why wasn’t she on the dance episode?)
BT: What was your favorite job (apart from SAB) and why?
SN: Teaching American Sign Language because I love seeing clients get excited and motivated to communicate. (BT: Can we be your student? :-))
BT: What would be your dream role or modeling opportunity?
BT: What kind of projects would you like to get involved with?
SN: I would like to help Deaf schools for the better education & to educate hearing families of deaf child about deafness around the world. Other countries are completely different than here, they are struggling which is sad. I could not stand to think about what the hearing parents went through with a deaf child or a deaf child went through with them. Here, USA, is definitely spoiled, Deaf Americans should be grateful for having technology, interpreters, and education better than nothing. It is a lot of work but I am willing to do it! (BT: That is a lot, but when helping people all effort is valid)
BT: We know you have a boyfriend, but for the fans, what do you look for in a man?
SN: A sense of humor, loving, supportive, loyal, and protective. (BT: Awww..Lucky Daniel)
BT: Have you ever done anything crazy for a friend? What? Why?
SN: Last year, I was (STILL) new to skiing. I am not sure how many Puerto Rican Americans ski. Haha. I believe I am the first person in the entire family to ski? Anyway, Ryan (Lane aka Travis) and Daniel (Durant aka Matthew) encouraged me to go with them. I thought they will take me to the area for beginner but…they actually took me to the black diamond area! You have no idea how much terrified I was when I saw downhill. My legs were shaking. I had to do it for them. Ryan and Daniel completely believed in me and rooted for me all the way, which was nice of them and I thank them for that but I fell down several times, flew off through the tree, and grabbed the branch at the same time. It made me go swirl then hit the ground. Thankfully, I wore helmet. It took me like 3 hours and a half to get all the way down to the finish line! My body was so sore next day and for few days! I walked like a zombie! Again, thank you Ryan and Daniel for your patience with me!!
BT: Let’s play favorites:
What is your favorite:
SN: Puerto Rican food!
SN: Swimming & tennis
SN: Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
SN: Rio &Avatar
BT: Place to go?
SN: France & some islands of Caribbean
BT: How did you feel when you got notified you got the role on SAB and how did it effect your life?
SN: I was shocked and completely surprised. My skin got goose bumps all over and rushed memories at once on my mind. It was like too good to be true but it happened because it was my first acting job. It affected my life in good ways. It made me believe in myself and gained my self-esteem. Today, I am more determined and motivated than ever.
BT: In the beginning, Natalie was a rebel, she gave Bay a hard time and then she planned to take over the school with Daphne so is Natalie planning another rebellion either with someone or for something?
SN: I feel that Natalie try her best to get along with hearing students as possible because of Bay. I am sure she is definitely concerned now.
BT: It is too soon for the viewers to know what will happen to Matthew, but how do you think Natalie should take sides? The friend that is making the mess (Matthew) and the friend who reported him to the school authorities (Emmett) It is a tough decision for any teenager on which friend will she support, right?
SN: Yes, it is not easy because you grew up with this person. You do not want to see this person get in trouble because you care about friendship. At the same time, you do not want to put yourself in that position to get trouble. It is a sticky situation.
BT: What would you like to see Natalie involved with or doing on the show?
SN: I would love to see Natalie to get involved with LGBT community to see her passion and support. And, Natalie should hang out with Bay more often since they are friends now. Switched at Birth fans should to get know Natalie more. (BT: YESSS, we so want Natalie and Bay scenes, they are so good as friends and so funny to watch :-))
BT: Can you tell us more about your mission to bring Deaf Awareness, what do you really want to do to help the Deaf community?
SN: My mission is to boost every deaf child’s self esteem to accept for who they are because in many countries, deaf children are struggling to live their life and especially left out. To educate hearing families about deafness, they can have a better relationship with their deaf child. Another important reason is to improve the educational system to give opportunities for children’s future. I would love to make a difference in child’s life.
BT: What would you like the most that the Deaf community would accomplish in the hearing world? (Ex; a law making every movie theatre to play with captions, make sure that every hospital has an interpreter or someone who knows asl 24 hrs for emergencies)
SN: I would like to see the Deaf community accomplishes goals in the hearing world, for example to get a job with accessible such as a high technology to communicate with hearing people at workplace. Hearing bosses would be more flexible for hiring Deaf people in the office or anywhere, etc. More deaf friendly. I would like to see both Hearing and Deaf workers use Iphones or Mini Ipads that can be used for communicating through text or relay. That will be great if there is newer technology better than that. I know several deaf friends, they filled several job applications and nothing happened. It is definitely frustrating because I understand how they feel. Few of them are lucky to have a job. Deaf people out there who are smart and got plenty of potential, they deserve to have a good job so they can have a good life.
BT: Any last comment about SAB or Deaf Awareness or both to our fan base?
SN: I truly appreciate to have your support because it means a lot to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
We would like to THANK YOU for bringing Natalie to us! Thank you for your dedication and attention to the fans who so much appreciate your work!! Hoping all the best for you and looking forward to see a lot more of Natalie on the next season of Switched at Birth!