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Deaf actor’s breakthrough with Dolly Parton

Where Old Federation house that my parents bought in 1970.Favourite thing This is a painting of my sign name by Deafblind artist Edan Chapman. This means the world to me. Sign names are given to you by the deaf community as a way of welcome. I feel so very grateful for my Auslan community. I’ve been learning Auslan since 2014Inspiration Portuguese chic meets Ikea madness.Home is Safety, cooking, bathtubs. Ana Maria Belo is more than happy to be working overtime on Dolly Parton’s 9to5 musical revealing she’s been a fan of the legendary country crooner since she was a tot.“I’m a huge Dolly Parton fan. Like incredibly huge,” she enthuses. “When I was a kid I remember seeing her and Kenny Rogers sing Islands In The Stream, and I was telling everyone they were married. It was a sad day indeed when I found out that was not the case.” Ana Maria is playing the role of Margaret in the national musical theatre production, which is set to wrap up in Sydney before heading to Brisbane, followed by Melbourne. “Being in 9to5 is a massive achievement for me. This is the first main stage commercial musical I am doing with hearing aids.“It’s a big deal to know that I can still be employed as a performer with my deafness.“For a very long time that was not possible.” Sydney-based Ana Maria gradually started losing her hearing at 14 and when she became profoundly deaf assumed her career was over. “I explored other things and tried to come to terms with giving it all up. But I couldn’t,” she says. “A voice deep inside said ‘keep going’. I am grateful I am involved in the industry now in 2022 when things are far more open and people are learning more and more about inclusiveness. I feel extremely lucky at the moment. And extremely busy.” Words: Catherine Nikas-Boulos Pictures: Tim PascoeThese guys are my best friends. I didn’t love them in the beginning. It took a long time to get to this point in our relationship. I first got them in 2012. I had to relearn how to talk and sing again. But I wouldn’t be able to do 9to5 without them. I have been obsessed with crystals and geology from a very young age. If I could pick anything to do other than the arts I would choose geology. I also love the hippy woo woo version of crystals too. I only wear one scent. So you can always smell me out in a room. It has been my scent since I was living in London. Mike Walsh gave me bottle for my birthday one year and I was hooked.These are made by Australian designer Roger Henley. With every job I do, the costume designers usually end up choosing to go with these glasses over any others. 9to5 is the only time I’ve not worn them as the lights are too bright for real glasses. This rosé is my new favourite wine. To be honest I only bought it because it had a lady bug (my totem) on the bottle. Then I tried it and fell in love. I found out that for every six bottles sold they will plant a native tree.I made my mum buy this juicer after watching an infomercial on the Bert Newton show. It’s that old. I will travel this baby everywhere I go. Fresh OJ in the morning is a must for me. This is a picture of me and my late nephew Matthew in 1999. It was his last Christmas. He had leukaemia and died the next year. He is my little angel and I take this picture of us everywhere I go. This ring never leaves my finger. I got it on my first trip to Hawaii in 2015. To me this ring symbolises my relationship with myself. I’m not waiting for anyone to buy me fancy things when I can do it myself.

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