Actor And Advocate Evan Vourazeris Talks About Dreaming With Disabilities
Evan Vourazeris was born with an excuse to think small and live a quiet life, tucked away in his disability. But Evan’s parents made it a point to focus more on their son’s gifts and abilities rather than any limitations imposed by Downs Syndrome. Their loving guidance for both their sons is something Evan says came instinctively to his parents.
“My mom fell in love with me just the way that I am,” he says with a smile. “I love my parents.” With their encouragement, Evan has been able to overcome a series of challenges and setbacks to follow his dream of becoming an actor and an anti-bullying advocate.
While family has always seen Evan through loving eyes, not everyone has. Childhood brought cruel attacks from kids who only saw Evan’s disability. “They made my life miserable,” says Evan as he talks about being made fun of in school. It was hard for him to understand why people were being mean to him, when all he wanted to do was be nice to everyone. Depression hit him when the bullying became severe, but it changed for him in high school.
Evan’s big brother had been on the high school football team. Playing on the team was not an option for Evan, but his special education teacher knew Evan had the ability to be a part of the team in a different way. With his help, Evan landed the position of waterboy for the team. The memory of those four years with the esteemed Katy High School Tigers was a game changer for Evan. Being a part of the fellowship and camaraderie, following his brother’s footsteps in his own way, helped ease the sting of his younger years.
Evan Vourazeris still holds a special passion for speaking out against bullying and educating today’s youth on the serious effects it can have.
The concept of kids committing suicide as a result of being bullied is something so upsetting to Evan that he struggles to even say the word. A recent story about a badly bullied Australian boy whose emotional torment was captured on video and shared by his desperate mother has gone viral, and reached Evan as well. It’s a story he can relate to all too well, and which creates a stronger desire for him to be a part of ending this cruelty by sharing his own story.
It’s an admirable goal. It’s also not as easy as it can appear to be.
In a world full of influencers and social media, it is extremely difficult for a person to stand out. His message and story may be powerful but unless he finds a way to let people know he’s out there and ready to help, his message will be one of millions of messages that’s never heard.
Fortunately, Evan Vourazeris is not the kind of person to let himself give up on something just because it’s difficult.
Underneath his beaming smile and gentle demeanor lies a will of steel that’s got him through more than one overwhelming challenge.
For a period of time it looked like Evan might not tap into his dream of doing something big with his life. He’d comfortably settled into a job bagging groceries and enjoying free time with friends and family. It was a friend’s causal request for Even to help her out with a college project that turned into a pivotal point for Evan.
His friend was working on a short film and needed an actor to play the role of Jesus. Evan eagerly agreed to help. His first time in front of the camera ignited a new spark in Evan. He loved everything about it. So while he continued working at the grocery store, he began pursuing acting as a profession.
The acting world is highly competitive. Countless stories exist of people who never realize that dream in spite of years of effort. Even more stories exist of people who let the overwhelming odds of failure prevent them from trying at all. Evan Vourazeris is not one of those people.
His willingness to take a chance led him to an audition for a role on the hit Netflix series Ozark. His charm and talent led him to get that role and today he can be seen as the love-able character “Tuck” in the series starring Jason Bateman.
What makes this even more impressive is that Evan made the audition recording while still recovering from a serious car accident in 2017.
It should have been a fun night for Evan and his friend. Instead it was nearly fatal. The two friends were severely injured by a car that raced through a stop sign at about 80 mph before slamming into their vehicle.
Evan sustained serious injuries to his face, fractured his neck, and his abdomen took a beating as well. His friend suffered even more injuries. Thankfully the two are recovered today, and Evan had the support of a friend who helped him film that audition tape even while struggling during that recovery.
As much as Evan loves his opportunities to act, he also loves his other passion: speaking out to inspire others.
Whether it’s a high school assembly or an inspiration event for thousands of people, Evan loves each moment he has a chance to use the insight he’s gained to teach others how to prevent and overcome bullying.
“I have to speak,” he says. “That’s my job and I’m glad to be alive.”
His nature is such that he cannot comprehend why anyone would want to be cruel to another person. “All people are different,” says Evan, “but you have to be friendly” to each other. He knows all too well how hurtful and damaging it can be to be bullied as a child. He still experiences a level of that today, he says, as he becomes more well known in the acting world and is opened up to more people targeting him for bullying.
“That’s not right,” for people to do, he says. So while he may not be able to put an end to all cruelty out there, he is going to do his part to help those who experience it and educate people on the importance of addressing it.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to interact with people,” he says. Sharing his story of finding people who believe in him and learning to believe in himself can make a difference to others going through similar struggles.
Evan Vourazeris has big dreams.
He wants to use his platform and his story to be a leader in the movement toward human kindness. He’s open to travel across the country to appear at events and speak to audiences on the topic, and he brings a special kind of energy to each person he meets.
From the time he was small, his mother encouraged him to go for it- whatever it was he wanted to pursue, she was there to back him up. “You got this,” she’d say to him. She also had advice for her son. It’s advice he seems to take with him wherever he goes, and pass on to others; “Go have fun.”