Celebrity Profile – Kim Tserkezie
Significant Work: Penny Pocket (Balamory)
Kim’s parents had to fight in order to get her into inclusive education. She explains on her official website that: “I feel fortunate to have experienced inclusive education. It was a difficult process for my parents to go through to fight for my right to be educated alongside non disabled children right from nursery school, but I will always be thankful to them for it…it wasn’t always easy being referred to as the school’s only disabled student throughout my education. This meant I did not really understand my identity as a disabled person and was quite unprepared for the prejudice and discrimination I would experience once I left school. I came to realise that the curriculum at school didn’t reflect the lives of disabled people. It was only after mixing with groups of disabled people in my adult life that I began to understand my identity as a disabled woman and the culture I share with other disabled people – a culture I’ve learned to be proud of.”
Kim was a TV and radio researcher before she moved into acting. On website Kim says that she it is incredible the number times people have asked her if she is really a wheelchair user. She goes on to say that this is ‘hardly surprising’ her ‘wheelchair is often mistaken for a prop when disabled characters have been played by non disabled actors for so many years.’ Kim is grateful for her role in Balamory as she believes that it gives her the opportunity to show that disabled characters can just be characters too. She says: “I think it has allowed me to demonstrate that disabled actors can be ‘characters’ in drama and not just there merely to illustrate a ‘disability issue’.”
Kim’s website was voted Best Representation of a Wheelchair User by Whizz Kids in 2005.