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Becky from Glee: mum says I can't sing

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Emma Emma | 12:16 UK time, Thursday, 14 June 2012

Lauren Potter, who plays Becky Jackson in Glee. (Glee, copyright 2011-2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved)

Lauren Potter has been making her mark as the feisty cheerleader Becky Jackson, in Glee.

The popular musical series, which airs on Sky1 in the UK, is based in a US high school and sees Lauren as a significant returning character who is seamlessly integrated into school life.

Becky is a willing sidekick to Sue Sylvester, the often harsh coach, with whom she is co-captain of the cheerleader squad; Becky herself isn't always nice.

In the show, characters have a habit of leaving the football field, swim team and other pursuits to join Glee Club. That's part of the ever-present drama, and it's here that we see all the singing and dancing that makes Glee so popular. So, can we expect to see Becky drop her pom-poms and enter the club that the show is named after?

Lauren appeared on June's podcast from Ouch! with her mother Robin. She told us: "This is really funny and I want to tell the truth. My parents were saying 'Lauren, you're a good actress, you're a good dancer but honey, you're not really a good singer'." Her mum wearily chipped in to say that it doesn't stop her practicing her singing round the house.

Musical ability aside, Robin acknowledges that her daughter could be the most famous person with Down's syndrome in the world. She said that Lauren now gets fan mail from all over the globe, much of it from people who do not have a learning disability.

"College students will write to her and say 'I knew nothing about Down's syndrome but because of you, I've researched it and now I do'."

Becky Jackson was not the first disabled character in Glee. She was preceded by wheelchair-using character Artie Abrams, who is played by a non-disabled actor; the fact he wasn't disabled in real life angered many people in the disability community in the States..

More disabled characters could be on the way, depending on the result of a spin-off reality TV competition called The Glee Project, currently airing in the US and coming to Sky Living soon. Contestants have been competing each week to win a place as a character in the next series of the hit show, and two of the young reality stars are disabled. Ali Stroker is paralysed from the chest down and Mario Bonds is blind.

When not working on Glee, Lauren Potter actively involves herself in her local learning disability community in Riverside, California. She campaigns against bullying and speaks out against the use of the R-word (retard) for a campaign with a significant groundswell of support, and she recently became an advisor to President Obama on learning disability issues.

Fans of Lauren can also find her playing a central role in Leader of the Pack, an internet-based boy-meets-girl drama, led by people with learning disabilities.

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