‘For My Woman’ Spotlights Deaf Actors & Actresses In This True Crime Story

by TV One Staff

April 25, 2017

For My Woman is all about the salacious and shocking stories of men and women arrested for crimes they committed in the name of love. Last night was no different, there was still tons of love, loss and diehard loyalty. But, we featured a cast of deaf actors to portray the gruesome true story of Daphne Wright and the woman she murdered out of jealousy Darlene VanderGiesen.

To understand why we did this, let’s breakdown a few details about this story. Daphne Wright grew jealous of the relationship between her girlfriend Sallie Collins and her eventual victim Darlene VanderGiesen. All the women in this story are deaf and the episode walks through their lives as deaf women living, loving and trying to move forward.

The main cast includes:

  • Daphne Wright as an adult, played by Sheena Lyles
  • Daphne Wright as a teen, played by Michai Hanley
  • Darlene, Daphne’s victim, played by Bellamie Bachleda
  • Betty, Daphne’s current girlfriend, played by Magdalene McLaughlin

These stories are usually casted with non-deaf actors playing these roles, but TVOne and the production company Sirens Media wanted an authentic portrayal. And, there are many deaf actors desperately trying to earn a place in this business.

Michai Hanley, aka young Daphne, said this, “Deaf people CAN ACT because we use our body language and facial expressions with our sign language to communicate and that is part of Deaf Culture. It is very hard for me to prove what I can do in a hearing world…I can’t hear but other than that, I can do everything that any actor/actress can do.”

The initial clip of this episode took off, delivering more than 70,000 video views in a few hours. When asked why so many people supported this episode, especially the deaf community, Magdalene McLaughlin, aka Betty, said, “what drove them to enjoy this episode was the lack of a language barrier; now everyone had access to watch a tragic moment within the Deaf community on TV…they were thrilled to see Deaf actors on the episode and wish to see more.

To see these talented actors in action, watch the full episode of For My Woman: Anything To Make Her Mine belowStart at 15:02 for Daphne’s story.