We had the good fortune of connecting with Gail Williamson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gail, career-wise, where do you want to be in the end?
The end goal: seeing people with disabilities and differences fully included in our society. Narrowing my focus I personally want to impact images of people with disabilities in the media because I believe the media is a educator, influencer that people invite into their homes and are educated passively. I’m getting closer to my end goal, but I have been at it for over 30 years now and have seen a big change in the images we are influenced by.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
In 2013 I found my way to the talent agency KAZARIAN/MEASURES/RUSKIN AND ASSOCIATES. They had represented with actors with disabilities for a few years. I came on board and helped revitalize the department and help it grow to meet the needs of the actors with disabilities and the entertainment/media industry. In 2013 the 30 or so actors with disabilities at KMR collectively made $50,000. Jump to 2019, and the talent with disabilities represented by KMR collectively made $3,000,000. A huge jump. I have been saying for years we need to prepare for the wave that will hit this industry, the wave of opportunities. it has arrived, and fortunately the talent has prepared, trained, practiced and are ready to navigate these new opportunities.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I usually give the Hollywood tours to friends when in town. The older section of the Farmer’s Market, the Hollywood Bowl, a hike in the Hollywood Hills, Runyon, Fryman, Franklin Canyons. And coming north to the Valley, I would hit little spots on Ventura Blvd, Lankershim Blvd around my work on the campus of the TV Academy.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would have no story without my son Blair Williamson, born in 1979 with the extra chromosome of Down syndrome, he was also born with the gift of acting. He lead me down that path by landing a commercial through his involvement with Special Olympics as a runner when he was 11 years old. He had a good experience filming, loved what he was able to do and wanted to do it again. I didn’t find anyone out there to support his acting desire so I just “followed his passion and stumbled on my destiny” as an advocate/talent agent. In looking for opportunities for Blair I found the CA Governor’s Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities and their Media Access Office. I found they worked with adults and not children, so I started by volunteering my time to promote child actors with disabilities through the MAO, and after 12 years was a contract employee for the State of CA working as an advocate for all ages of talent.