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Bloomberg Sign Language Interpreter Becomes Superstorm Breakout Star
As New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg addressed anxious citizens about storm damage and safety issues, all eyes were on his sign language interpreter Lydia Callis, 30.
Callis’ huge facial expressions and dramatic gestures have provided a rare moment of delight during the unfolding natural disaster during which at least 55 people have lost their lives and millions remain without power.
Her performances have made the impeccably dressed little Callis a viral web sensation and she has gained a legion of fans on social media sites like Twitter and Tumblr.
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Quietly brilliant: For many, interpreter Lydia Callis (left) has been the best thing about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Hurricane Sandy briefings.
Mrs Callis in action: Viewers praised her impressive range of facial expressions
New York Magazine wrote that Callis has given people “a legitimate reason to smile” during these difficult times.
“Unlike Bloomberg’s stilted Spanish, another highlight of the updates, Callis’ signature is both swift and emotive, his animated face lighting up and contorting joyfully as he goes, not unlike a guitarist during a “just exciting.”
‘Lightning quick and emotional’: Ms Callis appears unwilling to embrace her newfound fame and has declined interview requests, saying simply: “I feel honored to have been able to spread the message.”
WHO IS LYDIA CALLIS?
Some facts are known about Callis:
He graduated in interpretation from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology in 2010.
Her mother and three siblings are all deaf, so she has been an interpreter for them since she was a child.
She also works as an American Sign Language interpreter for schools, hospitals and businesses.
‘I’m telling you, the real star of Mayor Bloomberg’s press conferences is that animated sign language translator of his. “I can’t look away,” Twitter user @JCamm_ wrote on October 29.
“I love that lady,” one commenter wrote on a YouTube video of her performance. ‘Stupid news is blocking it on television so they can show images of something. But this lady is amazing.”
Callis has so far declined interview requests, although he recently told the New York Post: ‘I am here to serve the deaf and hard of hearing community. “I’m glad and honored to have been able to spread the message…that’s what it’s all about.”
There are at least seven American Sign Language and Deaf schools in New York City and Long Island.
VIDEO: Watch images of Lydia Callis combined with Ace of Base song ‘The Sign’: