Two years ago, Rowan University student Mackenzie Trush shared her experience with Spondylo-Epi-Metaphyseal Dysplasia (SEMD), an extremely rare form of dwarfism (less than 100 known cases exist). After the previous article, “Dominating the Stage at 3 ft tall,” Mackenzie received an overwhelming amount of support from readers all over the world. In honor of Dwarfism Awareness Month, she agreed to extend her reality into the public once more.
Growing up, as a form of entertainment and education, Mackenzie’s parents would take her to see theater productions. Mackenzie’s form of entertainment quickly developed into a personal passion. Her parents enrolled her in acting classes as quickly as she fell in love with the spotlight on stage. Her devotion to the theater industry continued to mature, which led her to Rowan University’s College of Performing Arts, where she studies Theater Arts with a concentration in Acting.
Mackenzie actively pursues her passion by stage managing for theater and dance productions at Rowan. This fall she is stage managing “Beloved Community” and is featuring in “In America, that is to say nowhere,” directed by Professor and Associate Dean Melanie Stewart, this February … show your support!! While school productions cease for summer vacation, she discovers any way to fulfill her interest. Mackenzie spent this past summer filming a spec pilot for a Netflix Original, (also featuring Tony Todd), and studying abroad in France with world renowned theatre artist and master of French clown, Philippe Gaulier.
Mackenzie hopes to spread more awareness within her own community because education goes far beyond the classroom. She wants everyone on campus, and society in general, to read this post and have a better understanding of dwarfism. Most students show maturity and acceptance, allowing her to have a freeing experience, but she wants continuous awareness.
She feels that the best way to raise awareness for the little people community is for everyone to be open and kind in the situation. Dwarfism is a physical and visible condition, so people don’t always know how to react. When kids show curiosity about dwarfism, parents should take that opportunity to educate their child on physical differences between people, and how it’s okay to be different; parents need to normalize diversity. Mackenzie is actively paving the way for people, whether it be other little people or anyone, to pursue their passion.
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Story and photography by:
Alyssa Bauer, junior public relations major