Breaking the Mold: An Interview with Rachel Osterbach
Rachel is a cast member of Born This Way, an A&E docuseries that follows the lives of young adults who have Down Syndrome. The show has not only raised awareness about Down Syndrome, but has shown that people who have a disability have the same hopes and dreams as the rest of us. Rachel was the first female with Down Syndrome to present an award at the Emmy's, she works for an insurance company, she is a public speaker, she is repped by Gail Williamson of KMR, and she is hand down the sweetest person I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Not only is Rachel changing the perspective of individuals with Down Syndrome, through her work and advocacy, she is also showing the world what a woman with dreams can do.
I saw Rachel speak at the National Down Syndrome Conference in Sacramento and spent a few minutes chatting with her afterward. She told me the story of how she met Adam Lambert (if you haven't seen the episode of Born This Way watch it now), and the misconceptions she sometimes faces as a woman with Down Syndrome.
When I decided to start this series I knew Rachel was someone I had to interview, and was so excited to get to Skype with her!
Lori: I am so excited and I'm pretty sure all my friends are so jealous!
Rachel: I am so excited too!!
Lori: You are a member of Toastmaster, a global messenger for Special Olympics, an actress—you do a lot. Have you always been really outspoken and outgoing? Or were you kind of shy?
Rachel: I was kind of shy for awhile.
Lori: You were?
Rachel: Yes, but thanks to Special Olympics I made a whole group of friends.
Lori: You think that is what got you out of your shell?
Rachel: Yes it did, and it is what made me want to be an actress. Becoming a public speaker and an actress has made me more comfortable in groups and more self-confident.
Lori: What do you do for Global messenger?
Rachel: I go out of state and give speeches. I talk about my journey and tell my story. I like to inspire people.
Lori: What do you think is the biggest misconception or what do people not understand when it comes to being a woman with Down Syndrome?
Rachel: People think that as a woman with Down Syndrome I cannot be independent and lead my own life, but that is not true. I am very independent. I do things on my own, I cook and I clean. I get more independent all the time and look forward to having my own place with a roommate soon.
Lori: You were the first female with Down Syndrome to present at the Emmy's. How was that? What was that like?
Rachel: Oh my gosh that was a dream of mine! It was so cool and I was so excited when I heard I was going to present.
Lori: Were you nervous at all?
Rachel: I was at first, but then I realized just to be myself.
Lori: Why did you decide to be an actress?
Rachel: Why? I like to put my expressions to scenes. I get to show all different emotions, and it helps me express myself and my feelings. I have loved movies since I was a little girl and it has been a dream of mine to appear on TV or in a movie, and now I am achieving that!
Lori: What is the best part of being famous?
Rachel: When people recognize me cause I love talking to my fans and meeting people.
Lori: What advice do you have for someone who wants to follow their dreams?
Rachel: You should never give up on your dreams you never know what's going to come next, and you should always believe in yourself. Its the advice I follow.
Lori: Who do you turn to when life gets hard?
Rachel: I turn to my mom. She is who I go to when I get upset, she is more like my friend instead of my mom.
Lori: What are you working on now?
Rachel: Right now we are shooting season 4 of Born This Way, which will air sometime during 2018. There will be many exciting things you will see from me, but you will have to tune in in order to see them! I am working on my living skills and also working at my regular full-time job at the insurance company I have been at for the past six years. Life is very busy!!
Lori: What do you do at the insurance company?
Rachel: I sort the mail, I send invoices and give out checks. I do work on the faxes.
Lori: How long have you been there?
Rachel: Six years. I love my job and my co-workers.
Lori: What are your hobbies?
Rachel: I love listening to music, I love singing and dancing. I love hip-hop dancing. I don't take any classes, but I love going to classes.
Lori: Anything else you want to tell me about yourself?
Rachel: I am very bright, I am easy to get along with, and I am very friendly. I love what I do!!
Lori: I appreciate what you do, and I love that you do it by just being yourself. We need more people in the world who are willing to be themselves.
Rachel: Thank you so much!!
You can follow Rachel on Instagram and Facebook @RachelOsterbach.