Millicent Simmonds, whose breakout role in this year’s A Quiet Place, was on hand to present the WGAW Evan Somers Memorial Award at the 2018 Media Access Awards.

For years, Hollywood portrayals of deafness have focused on how the disability makes life harder for the character. A Quiet Place turned that upside down, giving the heroine an advantage in a challenging story world.

At the Media Access Awards, she explained how “deafness saves the day” in the movie:

“It’s a scary tale where few words are spoken and silence means survival. My role was the exact opposite of what you see for most deaf roles– where the deaf character is special or the last person to know what’s going on. But in this movie, deafness saves the day. That experience and everything I’ve gone through and the connections I’ve made while working A Quiet Place are something I’ll never forget. Never.”