The Yellowjackets series has always been praised for its progressive representation of characters with disabilities, and this season they’ve upped the ante with their portrayal of Vanessa “Van” Palmer, a character with cerebral palsy. The challenge of portraying a character with a disability was taken on by two brilliant actresses: Lauren Ambrose as the adult version of Van, and Liv Hewson as the teenage version. In high school, Van was the goalkeeper of the Yellowjackets soccer team, and in the aftermath of a devastating crash she begins a romantic relationship with Taissa. Lauren Ambrose and Liv Hewson take on the challenge of portraying a character with cerebral palsy
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About Lauren Ambrose
Lauren Ambrose is an acclaimed American actress and singer. She is best known for her roles in TV shows like Six Feet Under and films like Can’t Hardly Wait. She has also performed on Broadway, where she earned a Tony Award nomination for her role in Awake and Sing! In the Netflix series, Yellowjackets, Lauren Ambrose portrays the adult version of Vanessa “Van” Palmer, who is living with cerebral palsy.
Ambrose was inspired to take on this role after working with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The foundation supports individuals living with paralysis and other disabilities. Ambrose has spoken openly about how this experience enabled her to better understand the challenges those with disabilities face on a daily basis. She was also excited to portray a character who had cerebral palsy as it allowed her to show the world that disability doesn’t define a person.
In preparation for the role, Ambrose worked with choreographers and physical therapists who specialize in people living with cerebral palsy. She also observed people living with the condition and consulted with the show’s medical advisors. Through her research, Ambrose was able to accurately portray Van’s physicality, while still making sure she maintained her agency and independence.
Who Is Liv Hewson
Liv Hewson is an Australian actress, best known for her roles in the Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet and the ABC comedy-drama series No Activity. She has also starred in films such as Aussie Rules and The Redeemed and The Dominant. In the second season of the HBO series, Yellowjackets, Liv Hewson takes on the role of Vanessa “Van” Palmer, the teenage version of the same character Lauren Ambrose portrays.
In the series, Van is a high school student who was the goalkeeper of the Yellowjackets soccer team before she was involved in a car accident that left her with cerebral palsy. Liv Hewson had to face the challenge of taking on a character with cerebral palsy, so she did extensive research and spoke to people with the condition in order to accurately portray the character. She wanted to make sure that the character and her experiences were represented with accuracy and empathy.
Although Liv Hewson was born with no physical or developmental impairments, she found this experience to be quite difficult but also very rewarding. As an actress, she was able to see how portraying a character with a disability can be educational and inspiring. She hopes that her performance will help to dispel any misconceptions about people with disabilities and help to create more understanding and empathy for those living with cerebral palsy.
About Vanessa “Van” Palmer
Vanessa “Van” Palmer is a character in the television series Yellowjackets, played by both Lauren Ambrose and Liv Hewson. In the show, Van is a high school student who is the goalkeeper of the Yellowjackets soccer team.
After suffering a traumatic brain injury in a car accident, Van is diagnosed with cerebral palsy and is forced to face the challenges that come along with her condition. Despite this setback, she is determined to stay on the Yellowjackets team and continue living her life to the fullest.
Vanessa is an incredibly strong, independent young woman who shows a lot of resilience in the face of adversity. She is an inspiration to many and serves as an example of how to find joy and acceptance in spite of hardships. We can all learn something from Vanessa’s courage and determination to live her best life.
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a term used to describe a group of neurological disorders that cause physical disability in childhood. It is caused by damage or abnormalities in the developing brain, which affects the body’s ability to control movement, balance, and posture. Symptoms of CP can range from mild to severe, including impaired motor skills, coordination, and speech, as well as intellectual and learning disabilities. People with CP may also experience difficulty in walking, controlling their body movements, and communicating. The severity and type of disability varies depending on the location and extent of the brain damage. CP is a life-long condition, but the right treatment and therapy can help people with CP achieve their goals and live independent lives.
How did Lauren Ambrose and Liv Hewson prepare for their roles?
Lauren Ambrose and Liv Hewson went to great lengths to prepare for their roles as the adult and teenage versions of Vanessa “Van” Palmer.
Ambrose took on the challenge of playing a character with cerebral palsy by learning from medical professionals and meeting with people who have the condition. In addition, she also worked with a movement coach to better understand the physical limitations of someone living with cerebral palsy.
Hewson took a more immersive approach in researching her role. She shadowed a teen with cerebral palsy, learning first-hand about the daily struggles that come with the condition. This experience allowed her to get a better understanding of how Vanessa moves, speaks, and expresses herself, so that she could accurately portray the character.
Both Ambrose and Hewson used the resources at their disposal to ensure that they were properly portraying their characters. With careful research and dedication to their roles, they did a fantastic job in representing someone living with cerebral palsy.