The Glee Project's Ali Stroker dedicates historic Tony win to kids with disabilities: You are 'represented'
She’s a winner!
Ali Stroker took home the 2019 Tony Award for featured actress in a musical at Sunday night’s show. Stroker won for her take on Ado Annie Carnes for the Oklahoma! musical revival currently lighting up Broadway.
Stroker emotionally made her way to the microphone as the crowd gave her a standing ovation.
“Thank you, thank you so much. This award is for every kid who is watching tonight who has a disability, a limitation, a challenge, who has been waiting to see themselves represented in this arena. You are,” Stroker said during her moving speech.
Stroker got her star on the competition show The Glee Project in 2012 and later became the first actor in a wheelchair in Broadway history in 2015. With her win, Stroker becomes the first actor in a wheelchair to be nominated for and then take home a Tony Award.
The performer recently gave an interview to Vulture where she opened up about the opportunity to play a character that is sexual — a quality not often represented on screen or stage for people in wheelchairs.
“I think that this role has come at such an important time in my life both as an actress and as a person,” Stroker said, “because I feel like I have arrived in my sexual power, meaning that I feel the most confident I’ve ever felt in my life. Especially growing up and as a teenager, I was always looking for role models who were in chairs.”
She continued, “I always felt like a sexual person — I just didn’t know how to always portray that, and I never really was sure, as a kid, if being in a wheelchair could be sexy. So, to arrive at this point is so exciting — more than exciting, it’s like a relief in many ways. Because finally we get to see someone who is so real.”
This article originally appeared on People.com