Photography by Luke Gilford for Out and Diet Coke.
Out met up with model and activist Nyle DiMarco on set of Out’s photo shoot with Diet Coke. Photographer Luke Gilford, who often captures queer talent in his work, shot the exciting pride campaign. While on set, we got to chat with DiMarco on living unapologetically, the importance of more representation in both the LGBTQ+ and deaf communities, and what he has in store for the future.
After spending a few minutes with him, it becomes clear very quickly that beyond being very tall and good-looking beyond measure, DiMarco also is kind, engaging, and genuinely interested in others. DiMarco recalls how overcoming some challenges has taught him to live his life in a very humble and unapologetic way, never spending a minute hiding who he is. DiMarco explains what living unapologetically means to him by saying, “it means you have absolutely no apology for your actions, and that you are comfortable with who you are.”
Other key parts of DiMarco's unapologetic identity include being deaf, sexually fluid, and doing whatever he can to give back to others. DiMarco often uses his platform to bring out more visibility to both the LGBTQ+ and deaf communities by encouraging others to become more inclusive or educated on these communities. He considers it an obligation to set an example for younger people, and wants to inspire them to be true to themselves. “As soon as you lead life with authenticity, the pitfalls disappear and the 'shoulds' of what the world imposes on you are muted.” We asked DiMarco what he thinks would happen if people started to live life differently. “Not only would they be happier with themselves," he says, "but they would play a huge role in younger generations being true to themselves.”
“I live life this way because it is who I am, and I will never spend a single second hiding my own colors,” DiMarco says. It takes someone truly special to not just stand out in a crowd, but to captivate through doing satisfying work while still giving back to others. DiMarco manages to thrive at all those things.
DiMarco started his own foundation, the Nyle DiMarco Foundation, with a goal to make life better for deaf people. He notes that “only 2 percent of [deaf people] have access to education in sign language, and more than 75 percent of hearing parents do not sign to communicate with their deaf children.” He wants to make sure that deaf kids growing up have the same privileges that he had and more. “I am extremely fortunate to have access to language, communication, and love. I want every deaf child out there to have the same privilege I had growing up.”
As if the foundation wasn't enough, DiMarco also formed Amplify Entertainment Company with a goal to empower the 1.4 billion people living with disabilities to tell their stories in front of and/or behind camera. He also currently has several scripted and unscripted TV projects in development and is thrilled about what is next for him. We are so excited for his continued success and look forward to seeing him again soon!