I'm Kind Of A Big Deal

I'm Kind Of A Big Deal

Dwarfism is one of the only disabilities that is still wildly misunderstood. Christophe is 4’4” tall, as a result of a rare form of dwarfism, and is a journalist, audio story producer, drummer, actor, stuntman, entertainer, businessman, and an avid surfer. His show lifts the veil on this unique world by talking to people directly affected by dwarfism. Each episode sheds light on how short-statured people navigate an environment not made for them, what struggles they face, and why it’s important to hear stories from their perspective. Frankly, when it comes down to it, little people are just people, and life is a crazy trip. Tune in to hear stories about little people that don’t talk down to you.

Episodes

April 30, 2021 19 min

My move to Los Angeles took a lot of effort, was scary, and completely changed my world. Though some of the jobs I worked were bad or didn’t treat me as I deserved to be treated, there were many that treated me really well. Some of them were fun, some paid well, and I learned from all of them. This is the story of my move across the country and my first gigs in Hollywood.

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How many times have you seen a little person play just a person in a commercial on TV? Or in an internet spot? If you haven’t seen this before or, you’re not alone. However, Alexia (fittingly pronounced Ah-Lex-Uh) Vassos broke this streak by being featured in an Amazon holiday shopping commercial in the Fall of 2020 - and she played a human person. Alexia talks about what the commercial means to her and how she is striving to appro...

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Receiving terrible treatment from a certain agent for live events has worn me down. I recently heard from them and we had an annoying and contentious text conversation. Listen in as I recount the conversation and talk about the reasons for my reaction to this agent. It’s not okay to treat people in a disrespectful manner and saying no can be one of the most important lessons to learn.

Connect with Christophe:

@bigdealpod

Thanks...

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What would you do if you were a little person and someone snuck a photo of you to criticize your stature on social media? This situation happened to Kevin Ton. He retaliated in a physical way because he felt threatened and violated. Though he’s normally a collected and rational person, being treated in this inhumane way is hurtful and makes you feel powerless. Kevin discusses the incident and how this treatment can have lasting eff...

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How many actors do you know who have worked in costume, as a Twinkie, with a dairy cow, on Jimmy Kimmel Live!? Christophe has and he recounts the story of a job he worked in 2019 on the late-night ABC show.

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From working with Bill Gates, Bono, and Barack Obama, to helping impoverished people living in villages deep into third world countries, Michele Sullivan’s impact is larger than life. Even though she’s 4 feet tall, her outreach has been widespread. Her book “Looking Up” tells the story of how navigating her dwarfism planted a seed that inspired her to help people across the globe. In her TED Talk, she explains her belief that every...

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As a little person, a number of the roles on productions that are available to little people include roles that cover our faces and our bodies to the point of no recognition. So many times actors with dwarfism are asked to work in prosthetics, foam, costumes, wigs, and with contacts, fake teeth, and other things that don't depict what we look like or who we actually are. This is the story of a job that Christophe worked and his...

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Sassee Cassee began dancing in gentleman’s clubs at age 18. Being 2’10” and having a driven personality, she was noticed quickly. Her 13 years as an exotic dancer has been quite eventful. She’s had to figure out how to navigate all of the traveling, the high-profile clientele, and her being fetishized based on her appearance. Sassee Cassee talks about why she loves her job as a stripper and how kindness is always at the front of he...

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For Pancho Moler, skateboarding was the sport where he found himself and felt accepted as a little person. Becoming a sponsored skateboarder and being featured in magazines for his talent made him feel validated. But when the industry decided to treat Pancho like a gimmick, he had to come to terms with being othered on a global level. Pancho talks frankly about shutting the door on his dream career, dealing with substance abuse, an...

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Bi-sexuality and dwarfism are a unique combination. Little people face many challenges on a daily basis regardless of their sexuality. For Sarah Hunt, 4 foot 6 inches, identifying as bi-sexual hasn’t made her life any easier. Hunt was bullied for her size and shape in school. Although the combination of her sexual orientation and having to have multiple surgeries was difficult to navigate, in the end, she found herself stronger hav...

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Having dressed up in the past as a leprechaun for parties, events, productions, and at bars, Christophe Zajac-Denek talks about his experience playing a character in drunken, wild environments. Although there’s good money to be made by playing costume characters, getting dressed up in costume comes with a cost. Christophe discusses his thoughts on St. Patrick’s Day. 

Connect with Christophe:

@bigdealpod



Thanks to John Lee Dum...

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One of the biggest struggles for little people is finding clothes that fit and look good. The apparel options at traditional stores are not made with short-statured individuals in mind. Dru Presta is over what the department stores have to offer. She’s decided to take matters into her own hands and start creating clothes that specifically little people. Her brand: Short Favor makes clothes with short-statured individuals in mind an...

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Limb lengthening is a relatively misunderstood medical procedure. However, Kristen DeAndrade knew it’s what she wanted for herself at a very young age. At 12 years old she went through with the first lengthening operation which led to her having two external fixators attached to her lower legs. Her tibias were broken in two places and she used the medical ‘bird cages’ to tease the bone into growing longer by stretching the gaps dai...

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Little people have a history of being portrayed in media as dehumanized and unreal characters. The majority of roles for little people in movies, TV shows, and commercials have been demeaning, degrading, and misrepresentative of their actual experience. These roles include leprechauns, elves, munchkins, oompa loompas, Chucky, and others. Nic Novicki realized that the best way for little people and others with disabilities to have t...

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Using words to describe individuals who look different is a practice that goes back centuries. In recent years, people have used very offensive terms when referring to little people and African-Americans. Little people have been called ‘midget’, and African-Americans have been called the N-word. However, some people have likened the act of calling a person with dwarfism a midget to calling an African-American the N-word. Ali Chapma...

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Ali’s life with dwarfism has its challenges. Growing up in Indiana and seeking protection from pointed and harsh comments, Ali learned at a young age how to cover up in winter to disguise herself as a child so no one would realize that she was a little person - she practiced this behavior later into her teens. Having no ambition to leave high school and being met with constant rejection in the real world, she knows what it’s like t...

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February 11, 2021 2 min

Dwarfism may be the first thing people notice about a person, but there is so much more to Little People than having short limbs. In fact, data shows that less than 1% of Americans are diagnosed. In Season 2, your host Christophe Zajac-Denek, who is diagnosed with a type of Dwarfism called Cartilage Hair Hypoplasia talks with authors, actors, clothing designers, advocates, and business people about race, disabilities, limb lengthen...

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This is part three of my conversation with Jon Michael Ogletree and the Season 1 Finale of I’m Kind Of A Big Deal. We are rounding out the season speaking with Jon Michael, who has a rare form of dwarfism and is an accomplished pianist and CFO. He also is a part of a strong faith community as he is a practicing Christian. Though he has a healthy and modest mindset about the challenges he faces, Jon Michael has a unique perspective ...

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This is part two of my conversation with Jon Michael Ogletree. He defies the norm of what disability looks like for someone with SED. Jon Michael is an extremely gifted musician, which is a rarity among people with his type of dwarfism. In a body that should be wrought with hearing and vision problems, his senses are ironically heightened. Though, Jon Michael would refer to his condition as being God-made instead of being left to c...

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This is the first part of my conversation with Jon Michael Ogletree. Jon Michael has endured multiple surgeries, one to correct a spinal curvature of 88 degrees, which if not corrected would have caused his torso to collapse. Though he needed much medical attention, this was a mere speed bump in his path, as he was never coddled as a child or an adult. Jon Michael has worked hard his entire life and it shows. He’s the CFO of his co...

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