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Bree Klauser | Multi-Talented Actor & Advocate

a headshot of Bree, a white woman with short brown hair styled in a pixie cut smiling for the camera. She's sitting outdoors on cement stairs wearing a dark olive tank under lighter olive colored overalls.

Bree Klauser | Multi-Talented Actor & Advocate

Contents

Editor’s Note

July’s Woman On The Move, Bree Klauser is no stranger to Bold Blind Beauty. If her name sounds familiar you may have seen her article “The Beauty Of Disability Representation In Art” published in May for the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge.

Since we work very hard to keep these video features to a maximum of 10 minutes in length it can be difficult to determine what to cut during the editing process. In view of this dilemma, I felt it’s important to let you all know that Bree is excitedly lookiong forward to traveling to Japan to perform in Brecht on Brecht. During the production she will be singing.

As with our other video features, the transcript is below the YouTube video, in blog format, for those who prefer to read the content. Enjoy! ~Steph

Don’t say no to opportunity, I find this really surprising, because I’ve seen this with younger performers with disabilities, but even my own peers. I see a hesitancy for them to just put themselves out there…Practice recording yourself, and practice editing. The more practice you can get, the more confidence you’ll have.

~Bree Klauser

Beyond Sight Magazine Cover

Beyond Sight Magazine Cover contains a waist shot of Bree standing and looking very serious and her pixie is spiky. She's wearing a olive trench coat over a black top. Text on the cover reads “Beyond Sight July 2022 | Women On The Move | Bree Klauser”

YouTube Video

Introducing Bree Klauser

In this outdoor photo of Bree she is smiling broadly for the camera and wearing a pretty tank top adorned with lacy details with small earrings.
Bree Klauser

Steph: Hello, I’m Stephanae McCoy with Bold Blind Beauty and I am so honored to have with us today for July, our Woman On The Move Bree Klauser. Bree, would you like to introduce yourself, please?

Bree Klauser: Hi. Thanks for having me. So my name is Bree Klauser. I use she/hers and they/them pronouns. I’m happy to be a Woman On The Move, but also to be a gender fluid, non binary person who happens to be disabled on the move as well. So representing all of those people in varying stages of femininity on the gender spectrum.

I am an actor, singer, voice over artist, and advocate. I live in Brooklyn, New York, I was born and raised in the New York area. And I am such a big fan of Bold Blind Beauty and what they’ve done for females in the low vision/blind community and showing that we can be badass two,

Bree’s Visual Impairment

Steph: Bree, I know you were born with a visual impairment, can you briefly share with our audience your condition and what it was like growing up with a visual impairment?

Bree Klauser: Sure. So I was born legally blind in both eyes with a condition called achromatopsia. It is pretty rare, it’s a genetically linked impairment. I’m missing two out of the three cones you’re supposed to have in your eyes and the retina and rods and cones.

So it means that I am completely colorblind. I am very light sensitive so I wear these tinted contact lenses.M y eyes are brown, but they appear darker brown because of these contact lenses. And I’m very nearsighted, I have a visible nystagmus in both eyes, which is a shaking of pupils, and poor depth perception. So I did receive orientation mobility growing up, so I couldn’t learn how to get around by myself. I wasn’t trained on a cane until much later because I think I was just very stubborn.

Growing up legally blind, was interesting in the sense that I didn’t grow up around other blind and low vision people, the only contact I had was with myolder sibling who has the same condition. And in the summertime, I would go to a day camp with other children who were blind and visually impaired.

But I went to mainstream schooling. So I think there was a lot of pressure, especially someone who was raised female to kind of blend in. So I remember, often refusing certain low vision aids, even when I needed them probably took me well into my adolescence and into my adulthood, to fully accept it and embrace my disability as a part of me and as a part of what makes me who I am and as a strength rather than something to be ashamed of.

Bitten By The Acting Bug

Steph: As an actor, what made you choose this particular profession? And how did you break into the industry, especially as someone who has a visual impairment, I would almost assume that that would be a little difficult?

Bree Klauser: I think when when we’re growing up. When we’re children, we, you know, we want to be anything and everything. And from a very young age, I loved the performing arts. I saw my first Broadway show, when I was six years old. I saw that little girl on the stage and from then I wanted to be like a child star. And to me, it never really occurred to me that there was a big difference between me and her. I just saw another little girl who loves to sing and could sing and had a lot of personality.

So, you know, it wasn’t so much like, we’re a lot of people, they go to high school and they say, “what do I want to do in my life? Oh, maybe I’ll be an actor.” No, it’s something that people often talk about getting bit by the bug.

Well, I got bit by the bug a bit young. And I’m really grateful that both my parents, but my mother, especiallyshe never said oh, well, maybe this isn’t something you can do. She said, well, this is something you love to do. And she saw that I had an aptitude for singing and acting and you know, this was something that I could become, you know, well skilled with. And as long as it was something that I enjoyed, she encouraged it and actually, like, I think I wanted her to be more of a stage mom, I was the one who was dragging her to take me to the city.

And so it wasn’t it wasn’t so much like oh, let me choose to do this. It was like, no, this is what I want to do. And I say to people all the time, if there is anything else, that you are passionate about that you think you could positively contribute to the world with, like do that instead because it’s gonna be a lot easier. But for me it’s kind of a bittersweet thing because it’s like this is how I feel I can best contribute to the world.

Tips For Young Actors

Steph: Can you offer any other tips for younger people, especially younger people who have disabilities, who may want to follow in your footsteps?

Bree Klauser: Absolutely. Training, is the most important thing, too, because the assumption is that performers with disabilities don’t have the experience and don’t have the training. We live in the age of the internet and there are so many virtual resources.

And you know, for low vision and blind people, we have all this great accessible technology. I’m a Mac user, and I find that is like a godsend. I can zoom in to my heart’s desire, and I can see the person on the other side. But people can use speech to text people can use VoiceOver. People can have scripts converted, into braille or read to them.

And I think the the first thing we need to do once you get into training or once you get into practice, whether it’s for acting or music or production, is figuring out what you need to be successful. I wish someone told me this sooner, but I learned this from the former Artistic Director of Theater Breaking Through Barriers, Ike Schambelan, passed away in 2015. He said, to know exactly what font size I would need from a script.

Because you want to take away the guesswork because as soon as you make your accommodations their problem, they’re not gonna want to deal with it. But if you know, “okay, I need this when I’m on set, I need tactile markers. I need someone to help me navigate any difficult terrain, I need my script sent in a digital PDF in this size font”, then, not only will that make your job easier, but it makes you look professional. It’s like, okay, you’ve done this before.

And so I said training that was important. And also don’t say no to opportunity, I find this really surprising, because I’ve seen this with younger performers with disabilities, but even my own peers. I see a hesitancy for them to just put themselves out there. The worst they’re gonna say is no. Make tapes of yourself, practice being on camera, play around with recording programs like Audacity and GarageBand. Practice recording yourself, practice editing. The more practice you can get, the more confidence you’ll have. But at the same time, you don’t want to wait until you feel quote unquote, when ready, otherwise, you’re never ready.

You know, I took classes, and I took classes specifically for TV and film and auditioning for that. And I brought what I learned to my audition for See and it was that plus right place right time. So I really need people to just put themselves out there.

And one more thing if you can write your own work. I know this is like the pot calling the kettle black. I people have told me oh write your own show or that. And I’m just on top of being legally blind I also have ADHD, so it’s very hard for me to put all my ducks in a row. But if you are, you have the love and the passion for writing. Write your own stories. And film those, record those.

Connecting With Bree

Steph: Oh, that’s great. Thank you so much for those tips. So how can our viewers get in contact with you, Bree?

Bree Klauser: So you can reach out to me on Instagram that’s where I’m most active on social media. So that’s Bree underscore Klauser underscore official so @Bree_Klauser_Official the regular way that is spelt. Or you can visit my website BreeKlauser.com. For professional opportunities, please reach out to my representation at KMR. And yeah, I love when people reach out on the website. It always it makes me really excited. It’s like, oh, oh, hey, you found me what? I’m actually if it is a professional opportunity, and it’s not like an agent thing like or like I’m really trying to do more advocacy and disability consulting work. I just did a disability consulting campaign for McCann Erickson for MasterCard. So anything involving advocacy or speaking of that, please reach out to me on my website at Bree Klauser.

Steph: Well, thank you so much, Bree and thank you for being our July Woman On The Move.

Bree Klauser: Thank you for having me for my birthday month.

Steph: You’re welcome

Like what you’ve read and want to chat about it? Join us in the Bold Blind Beauty Facebook group.

Image descriptions:

  • The header photo and YouTube thumnail are identical. Both have a headshot of Bree, a white woman with short brown hair styled in a pixie cut smiling for the camera. She’s sitting outdoors on cement stairs wearing a dark olive tank under lighter olive colored overalls.
  • Beyond Sight Magazine Cover contains a waist shot of Bree standing and looking very serious and her pixie is spiky. She’s wearing a olive trench coat over a black top. Text on the cover reads “Beyond Sight July 2022 | Women On The Move | Bree Klauser”
  • YouTube video descrription – In the video, Bree is wearing a halter style top with a pendant necklace. She’s sitting in front of a checker patterned wall.
  • Bree Klauser: In this outdoor photo of Bree she is smiling broadly for the camera and wearing a pretty tank top adorned with lacy details with small earrings.
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