– Jillian Deaton, also known as Jill Valentine on TikTok, gained viral fame for her American Sign Language performance during Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour.
– Deaton has been professionally interpreting ASL since 2014 and got her education at Phoenix College in Arizona.
– Deaton reflects on her love for Taylor Swift’s music, her experiences interpreting for major shows, and the importance of accessibility for Deaf and Hard of Hearing fans.
Title: Jillian Deaton: The ASL Interpreter Who Went Viral for Her Taylor Swift Performance
Meet Jillian Deaton, also known as Jillian Valentine on TikTok, where she recently gained viral fame for her impressive interpretation of American Sign Language (ASL) during Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. The 30-year-old professional ASL interpreter hails from Mesa, AZ, but is now based in New York City. Deaton, who received her interpreting education from Phoenix College in Phoenix, AZ, reflects on her career and her incredible experience interpreting for Taylor Swift in an exclusive interview.
Deaton’s journey with Taylor Swift began when she was just 13 years old. Like many fans, she was captivated by Swift’s ability to beautifully express the emotions she herself was experiencing. From shedding tears to dancing in her living room, Deaton’s connection with Swift’s music only grew stronger over the years. Now, as a mother of two, she enjoys sharing Taylor Swift’s music with her children and creating joyful memories together.
When Taylor Swift announced her return to touring, Deaton eagerly anticipated the opportunity to work with the accessibility team at Lumen Field in Seattle. Alongside her colleague, Ginevra Deianni, Deaton formed a dream team of interpreters. Having previously interpreted for major shows like Paul McCartney and “Hamilton,” Deaton was well-prepared for the spotlight. The hours spent workshopping Taylor Swift’s songs allowed her to create visually appealing interpretations that matched the tone and meaning of each song, enhancing the concert experience for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing fans in their assigned section.
One of the most rewarding aspects of interpreting for the Eras Tour was witnessing the immediate feedback from the Deaf community during the performances. As Deaton brought Taylor Swift’s show to life through sign language, she could see the joy and connection on the faces of the fans. These moments of shared appreciation and understanding created a profound sense of privilege and responsibility within Deaton. She considers it her duty to advocate for accessibility, ensuring that Deaf and Hard of Hearing fans have the same opportunities as hearing individuals to enjoy their favorite artists and shows.
Deaton has received overwhelming support and positive feedback on social media, but she emphasizes that her role as an interpreter goes beyond receiving accolades. She sees herself as a conduit for communication and urges those interested in learning ASL to seek instruction from Deaf or Hard of Hearing educators. Deaton cherishes the opportunity to serve the Deaf community, which has faced historical oppression, and aims to use her platform to continue advocating for accessibility.
In conclusion, Jillian Deaton’s journey from viral TikTok fame to interpreting for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour showcases her passion for bridging the communication gap between the Deaf and hearing worlds. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to amplifying accessibility demonstrate the power of interpretation in creating more inclusive spaces within the entertainment industry. As she continues on her career path, Deaton is determined to use her privilege to uplift the Deaf community and ensure equal access to the arts for all.