Actress Lauren Ridloff is well known in The Walking Dead world for her portrayal of Connie in the series. She has made history in the MCU for portraying the first-ever deaf superhero, Makkari, in Eternals. Variety reports that in October 2023, Ridloff, along with many others, was honored at the National Association of the Deaf’s (NAD) Breakthrough Awards.
The gala was hosted by actress Marlee Matlin and civil rights attorney Alexis Kashar at the Audrey Irmas Pavilion in Los Angeles. The event is hosted to celebrate the advancement of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community in areas of the arts, media, and technology.
Among the honorees were two individuals who were part of the history-making film CODA. Sian Heder, writer and director of the film, was honored with actor Troy Kotsur. CODA was the first film with a predominantly deaf cast to win Best Picture at the Oscars. Kotsur became the first deaf male actor to win best-supporting actor and the second deaf actor to win in the history of the Oscars, next to host Marlee Matlin, who won for her role in 1987’s Children of a Lesser God.
Additional names honored at the event include Ridloff and Tim Cook, Linda Bove, Howard Gordon, Christine Sun Kim, Chella Man, and John Maucere.
Ridloff was presented the Visibility Breakthrough Award by Matlin and Kashar at the event. At the end of the evening, Kashar was given a surprise honor, the Entrepreneur Breakthrough Award.
Lauren Ridloff honored by NAD
In 2000, after graduating from California State University, Northridge, a university whose population comprises a large number of deaf and hard-of-hearing students, Ridloff was crowned Miss Deaf America. This honor allowed her to become a spokesperson for NAD for two years. During this time, she attended luncheons and graduations, educating people about the organization.
Congrats to Lauren Ridloff on her latest honor.