Who knew interpreting Kendrick Lamar's "Fuckin' Problems" at the 2013 Lollapalooza would make American Sign Language interpreter Amber Galloway Gallego famous? (More famous, actually, we'll get to that in a bit.) The video, showing Gallego (with her signature bright pink bangs) as she expertly and enthusiastically interpreted lyrics such as "I love bad bitches, that's my fucking problem" and "Girl, I know you want this dick" to a huge crowd, went viral. Four million+ views later, Gallego was no longer just an interpreter, she was a rockstar interpreter.
Gallego, who has two degrees in interpreting for the deaf and another in psychology, has interpreted for lots of singers, including Madonna, Lady Gaga and Snoop Dogg (see above), among others, so she was already well-known among the deaf and music communities. Now YouTube viewers and the general public know what Gallego's fans have known all along.
"I'm a Sign Language Interpreter who specializes in music interpreting. I am also an interpreter instructor and I teach American Sign Language (ASL)." Gallego teaches within the Houston Community College system and online.
Why She Likes It: "I absolutely love my job. I have the opportunity to provide communication and access between hearing people and deaf people. For my job the process of preparing for an interpreting job is the challenge. Many times if I do not know the topic or musical artist I have to study the information and this broadens my knowledge base and increases my abilities for my next interpreter job. I love pushing myself for greatness."
What Inspires Her: "I am always inspired by the deaf community that I work with and see often. When I see deaf [people] performing signed songs and dancing and loving music, this makes my heart happy. Especially when I am at the concert and I see them jamming and signing the lyrics at the same time the hearing audience is singing the lyrics. I am humbled!
"I am also inspired by my students. When I see their growth as they go from first learning the language to interpreting, then to achieving certification and working side-by-side with me in the field, this makes my life complete!"
If Not This, Then What:"Well, I originally wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer, (that might be aging me)," she tells us. (For anyone under 30, being a Solid Gold dancer was a legitimate life choice back in the day.) "Then I wanted to be a rapper but I was by no means an Eminem. Then my true goal was to be a physical therapist. My godmother inspired me to do this when I was 10 and twisted my ankle, so I started my path out to be a therapist. Ironically, when I was 16, I was in a horrible car accident and had to learn to walk again. If I had not done interpreting then I would have been a physical therapist."
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If Not Here, Then Where: "I love Houston! I love Texas! I can travel anywhere and do what I do. I do not really dream of living elsewhere because with my job I can travel and do what I do anywhere because I have national certification."
What's Next: "I have a new company Amber G Productions. I would like to have many music interpreting contracts all over the [country] and be working hand-in-hand with deaf interpreters providing amazing service for the deaf community. I also have a website I have developed on my own called 1stopforasl.com. [I'm trying to get it] functional so that anyone can learn sign language."
More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Michael Weems, playwright Lane Montoya, artist Jordan Simpson, SLAM poet Joey & Jaime, designers Suzi Taylor, photographer Ashton Miyako, dressmaker T. Smith, artistLindsay Finnen, photographer Kaitlyn Stanley, tattoo artist Eleazar Galindo Navarro, video game maker Kate de Para, textile and clothing designer Shawn Swanner, video game painter Andy Gonzales, painter Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher Theresa DiMenno, photographer Jessica E. Jones, opera singer Atseko Factor, actor John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer