Actress and CSUN alumna Lauren Ridloff received the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) Harold Russell Award on Nov. 19 at the 2020 Media Access Awards, presented by Easterseals.

Ridloff, a rising stage and screen star who is deaf, was honored for redefining on-screen representation for the disability community while advancing the portrayal and employment of people with disabilities in Hollywood. 

“Thanks to those who have paved the way for me, I’ve been given an incredible platform that allows me to continue the work of reshaping the deaf narrative,” said Ridloff. “My acceptance of this award is also my promise to continue to work as a deaf woman of color, an educator, a mother of two deaf boys, and an actor to present deafness not as something to overcome but as a way of life that is incredibly visual, vibrant and rich.”

The Media Access Awards is an annual event that aims to recognize positive contributions toward the inclusion of people and the depiction of characters with disabilities.

Ridloff ’01 (English – Creative Writing), a former elementary school teacher, landed her first role on Broadway as Sarah Norman in the 2018 revival production of “Children of a Lesser God.” She received rave reviews and earned a Tony Award nomination that same year for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play.

Afterward, she joined the hit AMC television series “The Walking Dead.”

In 2020, Ridloff makes history as she brings to life the first-ever deaf superhero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Her debut as Makkari in “Eternals” is scheduled to hit theaters on Nov. 5, 2021.

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