Amber Zion

When she was young, Amber Stanton Zion would tell herself to "keep going until you reach the stars." The Penn Hills, Pa., native has done exactly that, living and working in the Los Angeles area as an actress, appearing on television’s CSI:NY, a national Kay Jewelers commercial and on stage in numerous Deaf West Theatre productions.

Before graduating from Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, Zion and her parents attended NTID's open house and liked what they saw.

“RIT/NTID has the best programs in Graphic Design, and they also have Performing Arts courses,” she says. “I‘ve been acting since the age of 5 and always have been interested in graphic arts, too.”

She decided to focus on her coursework at RIT/NTID before becoming involved with NTID Performing Arts, first in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. She performed in numerous productions throughout her college career.

“My professors prepared me for a great future, and I am forever grateful for that,” she says. “Professors Bonnie Meath-Lang and Jim Orr sent us to New York City to audition for Deaf West Theatre’s Big River and it was the most exciting experience.

“After making a few films with some friends’ production company, I realized that if I wanted to become professional actress, I needed to be in Los Angeles—so here I am!”  She lives in West Hollywood with her husband, RIT/NTID alumnus Ari Zion.

Zion’s most recent project is Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, where she will interpret the movie along with fellow deaf actor Sean Berdy. She continues to work on new projects such as It’s My Role, co-produced by RIT/NTID student Joseph Ausiano. She also works full time as a graphic designer.

“Becoming an actor takes lot of time and patience,” she says. “We have to work our way up to get the dreams we want. My advice for anyone interested in becoming a performer is to continue to get involved with theater productions, student films or work on your own projects. A great headshot with good resume and reel are a must.”

This story appeared in the Fall/Winter 2012 issue of FOCUS Magazine.

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