Deaf Person of the Month
Chelsea Adelaine Hassler's profile of Storm Smith, reprinted in DEAF LIFE, was posted in Popsugar on March 6, 2018.
Anyone who saw the delightful video of the two girls waiting in President Bobbi Cordano's Office who station themselves at her desk and decide that they will become president too, has seen Smith's work. ("Presidential Inauguration Celebration," https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6giCzh520A; the two future presidents are KDES students Hiruni Hewapathirana and Savannah Brown.) Smith made the video to commemorate Cordano's inauguration in Fall 2016, and to celebrate a new era. She was Creative Video Producer for the Office of the President, and this served as eexcellent PR!
Smith is the first Deaf woman to work at BBDO (Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn), a worldwide adverising agency headquartered in New York.
Surprisingly enough, until 2011, Smith was a graduate student in Psychology, studying to be a counselor. She ended up putting her background to good use, pushing to make the media more inclusive, more reflective of diversity.
She was born and raised in Los Angeles, and attended Gallaudet University. Although she knew that she was a creative person, she decided to pursue a "realistic" career. But she began making films and doing photography for fun. Professor Jane Norman urged her to enter a film-festival competition, and within a week, Smith did the shooting, editing, captioning, audio, everything. "While I had no background in film, and no formal training or anything, I knew I could do it all in a week because I had this innate fire inside of me and I was excited about it. . . It was a huge moment of growth for me, that I had a story to tell."
Her film was accepted for the festival, and took fifth place. After giving it considerable thought, she resigned from the graduate program in Psychology, and began focusing on filmmaking. "I became the main specialist, producer, and director at Gallaudet University in their communications and marketing department." BBDO recruited her, and she's now an art director, and a seasoned professional.
"My rule is that my films have to be with and for people of color. That's a must for me." She insists on representation and visibility. And is never afraid to take risks.Speaking of women of color, she says, We need to constantly express our stories through our work, and that work will speak for itself."