It’s not often that a recurring actor has generated enough buzz to warrant an Emmy nod — but Glee’s Lauren Potter may just be the exception.
The 22-year-old actress who plays Sue Sylvester’s sidekick Becky enjoyed not one but two big storylines this season. Her first breakout moment occurred in January’s episode titled “Yes/No,” in which Becky sets her sights on Artie (with heartbreaking results). And in the May episode of “Prom-asaurus,” Puck crowns her queen of the “anti-prom.”
For Potter, however, the winter episode that included the voiceover talents of Helen Mirren as Becky’s alter-ego still tugs at her heart. “It made me cry after I saw the episode,” Potter tells EW. “I wanted to date this typical boy.” That memorable moment could also serve as a big reminder to Emmy voters that co-stars like Chris Colfer and Jane Lynch may not be the only Glee actors who are deserving of Emmy love.
“Oh my God, it would be so exciting,” Potter says of the possibility.
Potter’s work capped off a great season for actors with Down syndrome who have struggled for years to find regular work in film and TV. In 2011, three prime-time TV series featured actors with DS: Besides Potter, there was Luke Zimmerman on ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager; and Jamie Brewer on FX’s American Horror Story.
But Potter, by far, generated the most attention with her role as a cheerleader on Glee — a platform that her mom Robin says “has given her a voice to speak out for people who can’t speak out for themselves.” Potter serves on the Committee for People With Intellectual Disabilities, which advises President Obama on how to help the community gain better access to schools and jobs. And she also gives inspirational speeches nationwide. (She’s scheduled to give a keynote this weekend in New Orleans for Kiwanis).
But what would top it all? An Emmy, of course. It would be a big achievement for an actor with DS: Though Chris Burke memorably portrayed Charles ”Corky” Thacher for four seasons on the ABC drama Life Goes On, he never garnered an Emmy nod. (He did, however, receive a Golden Globe nomination). The only other actor with DS to earn an Emmy nod was Andrea Friedman for her role on Law & Order: SVU back in 2002.
“To be honored by other actors,” Potter says, “Oh… yes.”
Emmy nominations will be announced July 19. The annual Emmy telecast will air on ABC on Sept. 23.
The EW Report: Actors with Down’s Syndrome