Monday, June 25, 2012

Recap of Q+A Hangout with women from ABC's What Would You Do?

This past Thursday, Alina Davis and Whitney Aerenson, two women who first met each other in a New Jersey ice cream parlour under unusual circumstances, were reunited once more in a Stutter Social hangout.

Alina, a 19-year-old woman who stutters and member of Our Time Theatre Company, was featured in the April 6th segment of ABC’s What Would You Do? Program. She portrayed a girl who was stuttering while in line at the parlour.  Other actors played the role of bullies who made rude comments to her. Whitney, a customer who saw the encounter, had no idea it was fictionalized. She stepped in on behalf of Alina and defended her against the “bullies.”

In Thursday’s hangout, both girls fielded questions from participants about themselves, and their experiences and feelings since appearing on national television.

“To see her (Whitney) cry, I started to cry. It was so sweet, it was awesome,” Alina said in the hangout, referring to the moment when Whitney defended her in the parlour.

Whitney herself said it was her first time defending someone like that. When asked what prompted her reaction, Whitney, who was with her boyfriend in the parlour, said it was the result of anger over what she was seeing. “I’ve never ever heard anyone say such terrible things,” she said. “She (Alina) was just trying to order ice cream. The anger that came over me was so strong.”

When Alina was asked how the initial opportunity arose, she said ABC invited Our Time for an interview for the show. “I went and the producer approached me and was like ‘Do you want to audition for the lead actress?’” she recalls. “I said sure. It was crazy.” She revealed she landed the role right way.

Since the appearance, Alina says, she grew more confident about her stutter. “It helped me be open about (my stutter) and not hide it, since it’s on national TV,” she said.

In terms of how the experience changed Whitney, she noted that she learned that when faced with similar situations, she’s the reactive type.

For Alina, one participant asked her what she would do in a similar event which wasn't fictionalized. “Whenever I get weird looks or someone makes a comment, I would usually ignore it,” she said. “But if I saw it happening, I would stand up and say something.”

Whitney, of course, agreed, adding that “whenever someone is picked on or having someone be rude to them, (she) hopes someone is there to say something because it’s just not right.”

Other questions and topics include the reactions of friends, family and strangers to Alina’s and Whitney’s appearances, and stuttering and bullying in general.

The entire video is available below for your viewing pleasure. Have comments? Feel fee to share them below or on YouTube! Once again, we thank Alina and Whitney for joining us.

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