NEW YORK, NY – A&E Network will premiere the new original docu-series “Born This Way,” following a group of seven young adults born with Down syndrome along with their family and friends in Southern California. The six-episode, hour-long series from Bunim-Murray Productions premieres Tuesday, December 8 at 10 PM ET/PT.
Cameras follow the young men and women of “Born This Way,” as they pursue their passions and lifelong dreams, explore friendships, romantic relationships and work, all while defying society’s expectations. In their willingness and courage to openly share their lives, through a lens that is not often shown on television, we learn they have high hopes just like anyone else. The series also gives voice to the parents, allowing them to talk about the joy their son or daughter brings to their family, and the challenges they face in helping them live as independently as possible.
“We are proud to be airing this important and extraordinary series and hope it will inspire meaningful conversations about people with differences,” said Elaine Frontain Bryant, EVP & Head of Programming A&E Network. “‘Born This Way’ is a show with honesty, humor and heart that celebrates and embraces diversity.”
“There is a freshness and honesty in the way these young adults lead their lives; something we could all learn from them. We are enormously thankful to them and their families for participating in this project,” said Jonathan Murray, Executive Producer.
“I'm so incredibly proud to see ‘Born This Way’ highlight the outgoing personalities and amazing abilities of Best Buddies participants like Rachel Osterbach and Sean Mcelwee," said Anthony K. Shriver, Founder and Chairman, Best Buddies International. "It is my hope that this show will demonstrate to society that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are just like everyone else and should be fully included in our communities, our workplaces and our lives."
A&E has partnered with celebrated global non-profit organization Best Buddies International and committed to an on-air PSA featuring Anthony K. Shriver and Best Buddies program participants in support of promoting opportunities and increasing awareness for people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The cast of “Born This Way” includes:
Rachel – Working in the mailroom for an insurance company, she will be the maid of honor at her brother’s upcoming wedding. Rachel would love to get married herself, but first she has to find the right guy.
Sean – An excellent golfer and avid sportsman, Sean is a self-professed ladies’ man, who is not shy about introducing himself to every eligible woman he meets.
John – From a very young age, John made it clear to his parents that he craved the spotlight. A born entertainer, John is committed to his music and is pursuing a career in rap.
Steven – Working as a dishwasher at Angel Stadium in Anaheim and in customer service at a local grocery store, Steven is a huge movie buff and knows the title and year of each Oscar winning film.
Christina – This loving and compassionate young adult works in a middle school. In her free time she loves talking on the phone with Angel, her boyfriend of 4 years and the man she plans to marry.
Megan – A budding entrepreneur, Megan has created a line of clothing she sells under the brand “Megology.” She is pursuing her dream of becoming a film producer and is a proud advocate committed to spreading the word that society should not limit adults with disabilities.
Elena – With a flair for the dramatic, this young woman embraces life. Elena loves to cook, dance and write poetry and takes a great pride in her independence.
According to the U.S. Census, one-in-five Americans have a disability. Currently 70 percent of working-age people with disabilities are not working – even though most of them want jobs and independence. The numbers are even worse for people with Down syndrome. While there are many studies that show that people with disabilities, including those with Down syndrome, can work successfully and live relatively independently.
"Born This Way” is produced by Bunim-Murray Productions (“I Am Cait,” “The Real World”). Executive producers for Bunim-Murray are Jon Murray, Gil Goldschein, Laura Korkoian and Barry Hennessey. Executive producers for A&E Network are Drew Tappon and Elaine Frontain Bryant.