Anna Cannings

Anna Cannings - on London street

Anna was born blind with a rare eye condition called Bilateral Microphthalmia - bilateral meaning both eyes and Microphthalmia meaning abnormally small eyes. Despite this (or possibly even because of it) her life so far has been an eclectic and exciting mix of unusual events. She was the first totally blind child in Sussex to attend mainstream schools; set up and ran her own audio production company when she was just 18; has featured in numerous publications as a photographic model, as well as working as a sculptor's model for the internationally renowned Marc Quinn; is the proud, Braille-reading narrator of the audio book 'She Is Not Invisible' by author Marcus Sedgwick; has worked as an actor on prime time TV dramas since 2005; and has featured in two high-profile commercial campaigns, for Listerine and Camden Hells.

Anna has always been an advocate for inclusion and believes in leading by example. She knows first-hand just how important it is for people with disabilities to be empowered to live full and inclusive lives where barriers to participation are minimised and has extended these beliefs into her work on a daily basis, applying for the widest range of acting, voice-over and modelling jobs possible.

"Most people think I'm crazy for working in such a visually oriented industry when I have a visible disability which makes me look different from the norm," Anna says. "But I really enjoy it and hey, some of us have got to give it a go! If those of us who are a bit different from the classic look don't apply for work, then the actors on our stages and screens and the models in our magazines and catalogues will look the same forever, and that's no good for any of us; thankfully, people are finally beginning to recognise this. I'm different, yes, and many people won't even consider booking me but, frustrating as this sometimes is, it's also what drives me to continue showing up and keep on trying. As I see it, my job - a job I love and am incredibly lucky to have - as an established disabled performer is to convince those with the power to hire a more diverse cast of all the things I can do and then, once booked, go right ahead and prove it! That's how change will happen. That's how disability will be portrayed authentically."

Now in her late thirties, Anna lives independently in a flat in west London. She is a keen theatre-goer, as well as enjoying an active lifestyle, participating in tandem cycling and guide running on professional tracks and in local parks.