A television commercial airing this holiday season features Amber Zion, a graduate of RIT/NTID.
The commercial is being broadcast nationally by Kay Jewelers. Zion portrays a deaf woman meeting with her hearing boyfriend near a Christmas tree. The boyfriend apologizes for his signing ability and gives her a present. When he asks if she likes it, she signs, “Read my lips.”
Zion, whose maiden name is Amber Stanton, grew up in Penn Hills, Pa., and graduated from NTID in 2003 with a degree in performing arts. In 2004, she received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from RIT. She now resides in the Los Angeles area.
She said she taped the commercial in July in New York City with Ben Rappaport, a hearing actor who portrayed her boyfriend.
“I’ve gotten a lot of wonderful feedback and response,” she says about the commercial. “Funny, I only saw my commercial three times on TV while all of my friends and family saw it many times.”
RIT/NTID student Sheila Silva enjoyed the commercial, especially when she found out the connection to her college. “I’ve been seeing more and more commercials popping up recently showing sign language,” she said. “I hope that continues even more.”This isn’t the first time Zion has had national exposure. She was featured in an episode of “CSI: NY” in 2006. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue her acting career and is working as a graphic designer.
In 1986, a McDonald’s commercial in sign language featured Beth Ann Bull and Andrew Rubin, also former students at RIT/NTID. In January 2008, Pepsi televised a commercial in sign language prior to the Super Bowl. That ad featured RIT/NTID graduate Darren Therriault.
The Kay Jewelers commercial may be seen on Zion’s Web site at www.amberzion.
Note: The photographs accompanying this story were taken by Erik Call ’06 (film and video).