Jayne shines at screening for CPS students

October 20, 2014

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Jayne Waithera traveled from her home in Kenya to Chicago to help kick off the the “On Beauty” world premiere. On Oct. 15, Jayne and Max Hoffman, a local high school student who has Marfan syndrome, addressed a theater full of enthusiastic young people after they watched a sneak preview of “On Beauty.” This special event was part of the Chicago International Film Festival’s educational outreach screening that shows various short films from the program to local students. Jayne shares her thoughts about the experience.

After a long flight from Kenya to Chicago and having not seen the completed film, I was initially nervous to see how the young Chicago students would react to “On Beauty” and my presence at the screening. I didn’t know how the film would be received or what its reach could be. When I came across the Chicago International Film Festival posters on the buses and around the city, I realized how huge the whole screening and premiere was. The minute I saw an “On Beauty” poster with one of Rick’s beautiful photos of me I got excited to get these young people involved.

The theatre hosted approximately 200 people, mostly high school students from Chicago, but also younger kids and adults. They seemed excited to see me on screen and then in person. They were attentive and asked thoughtful questions such as what my feelings are about being in such a strong documentary and why I think this film is important. As I answered questions I tried to emphasize self-acceptance and celebrating our differences rather than conforming to negative societal perceptions. I also reminded them to never give up and that it’s possible to achieve anything in life regardless of our weaknesses. I concluded by calling on the students to be ambassadors of positive change and I believe many of them will rise to the occasion.

After the Q&A a few students came up to me individually and wanted to know more about the plight of young students with albinism in Africa, how they could help and what measures are being taken to educate the community. It was encouraging to see how the film sparked their interest on these issues. The students crowded around me to take pictures with me in front of the poster and I never felt so much like a super star like I did on Oct. 15. It made me realize what a positive impact this film has and why it needs to be seen.

I would sincerely wish to thank the film’s director, Joana Rudnick, and Rick Guidotti for sharing my story with the world. Not to mention everyone who has, in one way or another, helped the film be a great success and an inspiration to many.


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1 Comment

  • Jayne, I love the photograph of you on the elevator arriving in Chicago. It reminds me of the feeling of excitement I have at the beginning of a journey. Thank you for sharing your beauty and your journey.

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