This week, we welcome Gabriella Evans to Able’s communications team, where she is working to raise awareness about media accessibility. Gaby has a BA in Deaf Studies and Psychology from AUT, and is fluent in NZSL. She has previously worked with us as a part of our Impact Stories series, and was interviewed on Newshub for the launch of captions on channel Three. Gaby loves TV (captioned, of course!) writing, videography, and film.
We’re so excited to welcome Gaby to the Able whānau. Here are a few questions to get to know her better.
Kia ora Gaby. Tell us a bit about yourself!
Do you have any pets?
One cat – Louie. He’s about 7 years old and doesn’t live with me but he’s probably the biggest cat I’ve ever seen and has no qualms about literally walking over people like they’re not there.
One of my favourite Youtubers to watch is Molly Burke – her content focuses on everyday life and awareness about blindness, fashion and guide dogs. I’ve been watching her content for years. She’s just really engaging which I love. We’re also the same height so I’ve definitely picked up some really useful fashion tips which is hard to come by because not many people are the same height as me.
What’s your ‘why’ – why do you do what you do?
I’m really passionate about improving the quality of captions and access to captions. Growing up, it wasn’t until later that I discovered them as awareness around how to access them wasn’t as widespread compared to now, particularly with the explosion of the internet and how embedded in our everyday lives simply googling something has been.
What do you think about the media accessibility landscape in Aotearoa?
There’s definitely still some way to go, but I’m hopeful we’ll be where we need to be someday. We’ve already made so many improvements and come a long way compared to the beginning of this century. During Covid, the incorporation of NZSL interpreters for media stand-ups and press conferences was something that wasn’t really done before in Aotearoa. While there were some early hiccups, such as the cameras being too high or zooming in too much, this has been improved as a result of feedback from the Deaf community and interpreters are now present for most media press conferences, which is great for accessibility.
What can we find you doing after hours?
After hours, I’m probably making some of my favourite meals which tend to range from pretty basic to Asian fusion meals, especially Japanese food. Moving back to Auckland has been fantastic in that JapanMart isn’t such a long drive away anymore!