100 Creatives 2014: Amber Galloway Gallego, Rockstar and Sign Language Interpreter
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.
Amber Galloway Gallego interpreting for Snoop Dogg at Lollapalooza 2013
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.
What She Does: "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."
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
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