Have you ever watched the movie, “I Am Legend?”
Do you remember the scene when Will Smith’s character sends his daughter and wife away on a helicopter?
The person Smith is holding is Indiana’s own, Ali Chapman.
Ali, 36, got her first acting job as the stand-in for Willow Smith, Will Smith’s daughter, during the movie.
The question you might be wondering is….how can a grown woman play a young child? That is what makes Chapman unique. When you meet her, don’t be too shocked to see a 3-foot-5-inch woman walking your way.
“I am a little person,” said Chapman.
Chapman was diagnosed with Hypochondroplasia, which is a type of Dwarfism.
At birth the doctors knew there was something wrong. Her limbs and body structure were not like the average baby.
“They (the doctors) didn’t think she was going to live,” said Brenda Chapman, Ali’s mother.
Doctors told Brenda, Ali would be deaf at nine, blind at 10 and not able to walk at 12. In spite of it all, Chapman can hear, can see and is walking just fine.
At the age of five, she realized she was different. Chapman remembers having a lot of friends in school and was not treated any different.
“Everyone in my school was great,” said Chapman. “It was apparent to me when I was outside of school, when I would go to the mall or the grocery store and sometimes you would get strange looks, people would point and ask questions.”
Chapman knows people don’t see a little person every day. The fact that she is African-American makes her circumstance even more extraordinary.
For sometime Chapman was not sure how she could use her condition to her advantage. In her younger years she looked at her condition in a negative light. She would often question why couldn’t she be like everybody else.
It wasn’t until a few years ago, Chapman stopped holding herself back from trying to achieve things that others can do.
“After gaining some confidence is when I decided to pursue different things,” said Chapman. “I want to break out and show the world who I am.”
After some spiritual growth and increased confidence, she acknowledges God for blessing her. She believes that if she wasn’t a little person she probably wouldn’t have had the opportunities she’s been blessed with.
“It is a blessing,” said the burgeoning actress. “It has really been a positive rather than a negative.”
Currently Chapman is one of three little women featured on the Women’s Entertainment (WE) Network show, “Secret Lives of Women.” The episode that Chapman premiers in is, “Mini Women.’ The basis of the show is to portray the struggles and the challenges that Chapman faces being a little woman.
Since doing the show, Chapman thinks she is at the start of something great in her life. She wants to pursue more avenues within the entertainment world.
She also had her first speaking role in a movie that has not yet been released called, “Circus Maximus.”
She wants the world to know that having any type of disability should not limit anyone from dong what they want to do.
“Embrace and love who you are,” said Chapman.
In her recent activities, Chapman takes nothing for granted. Each day she continues to live her life, whether it is going to work, hanging with family, or surfing the web for the next big role.
She realizes that when people have something that sets them apart from the rest of society, life can be very hard. But live life to the fullest and never give up.
“Have strong faith and believe in yourself,” said Chapman. “Through God everything is possible.”
What you didn’t know about Dwarfism
The Little People of America (LPA) define dwarfism as an adult height of 4-foot-10-inch or shorter.
Categories of Dwarfism
Disproportionate – the individual has an averaged sized torso with short arms and legs.
Proportionate- body parts are proportionate, but abnormally short.
There are 200 types of dwarfism. The most common types are: Achondroplasia (80 percent of all little people fall under this category), diastrophic dysplasia, spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia, and hypo-chondroplasia (more than 200 people worldwide have been diagnosed).
Watch the Show
What: WE presents, “The Secret Lives of Women” Episode, “Mini Women”
When: Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 11 p.m.