free hit counter code I was a Hollywood model starring in music videos with 1D – but led a secret double life for 10yrs… even with boyfriends –

I was a Hollywood model starring in music videos with 1D – but led a secret double life for 10yrs… even with boyfriends

‘ATTENTION everyone!’ the director shouted, her voice cutting through the chatter. 

Actors wearing elaborate costumes and make up scrambled into their positions. 


Vogue model Georgia hid her hearing aids for 10 years from casting agents and boyfriends[/caption]

Olivia West

Deaf model Georgia Meacham now wears her hearing aids with pride[/caption]

I quickly dumped my hearing aids in my bag and got into place. 

I could no longer hear the director so I was lip reading instead. My heart pounded as I tried to work out quickly what she was telling me – often having to guess.

For ten years, this is how I got through castings, catwalks and filming, deceiving everyone I worked with. 

It was like living a double life on set – my actual job as a model and an actress and then the even harder role of keeping my disability a secret. 

It was beyond exhausting and made work ten times harder.

Looking back, I don’t know how I managed to do it for so long. After receiving a modelling contract at 18, I didn’t want to tell anyone I was deaf – and managed to keep up the facade for over a decade. 

I even featured in major Hollywood blockbusters such as Bridget Jones’ Baby and Wonder Woman 1984 by lipreading my cues.

Ten years ‘in hiding’

My jet-setting career took me all over the world and I modelled for designers such as Stella McCartney, Karen Millen, Ted Baker and featured in Vogue. 

I was also cast in music videos for Tinie Tempah, Cheryl and One Direction.

To the outside world, I had it all. But my secret was eating me up. 


Tasha Ghouri meets Georgia Meacham on ‘Good Morning Britain’[/caption]


Georgia hangs out with Charlie Sheen on a film set[/caption]

The entire time, I was lip reading cues from photographers and directors – having to guess what they were telling me to keep my disability a secret.

The long days, demanding schedules and constantly guessing what people were saying to me, added to my “deafness fatigue” – and I  couldn’t keep it up anymore. I wasn’t being my true bubbly self and it was massively impacting my mental health. I ended up in therapy. 

After ten years in hiding, I finally embraced my disability after watching Tasha Ghouri on Love Island.  Finally there were other people like me on TV and deafness was being shown in a more positive light.

Yet I had only ever seen it as a negative. It was an awakening and in that moment I realised my hearing aids weren’t so bad after all.

People associate hearing aids with the elderly but here was this beautiful woman on a popular ITV dating show normalising them. 


Georgia started modelling at 18 years old but hid her hearing aids from casting agents[/caption]


Georgia in an ad for luxury bed firm Sleep 8[/caption]


She has modelled in London Fashion Week[/caption]


With designer Julien Macdonald[/caption]

Hidden from boyfriends

I was born moderately deaf and started using hearing aids on both ears at 17 months old.

It was a huge shock to my parents. No one else in our family was deaf so they couldn’t understand it. They struggled with acceptance for a while. I failed a few health checks and was behind with my speech which led to my diagnosis.

Growing up, I loved my pink, glittery hearing aids and was never bullied over my disability. Occasionally, I had the odd child ask what was behind my ear but that was it. It wasn’t until I started studying at Queen Mary, University of London in 2011 that I suddenly felt embarrassed BY them.


As a child Georgia loved her pink, glittery hearing aids[/caption]

Around this time, my modelling career was taking off and it suddenly hit me that there weren’t any other deaf models or actresses. I felt isolated and alone and felt like I needed to hide my disability to fit in and be successful. 

As well as hiding it from casting agents, I also hid it from boyfriends.

I was living a double life on set

Georgia Meacham

I went to great lengths to hide it from a guy I was dating for four months. I would never wear my hair up and would get paranoid to walk outside in the wind in case it blew my hair back and revealed them.

I would also avoid hugging him, as I was worried he’d feel the plastic or would hear the whistling sound they sometimes make. 

When I finally plucked up the courage to tell him, he shrugged and said, ‘Oh I knew all along, nothing to worry about.’

It felt like a huge relief andI was surprised about how unbothered he was.  

Two years ago I met my current boyfriend at a charity event in London. He’s Italian so at first it was a bit of a challenge because of the language barrier and my hearing loss. 

I can hear people if they’re sitting close to me and I have my hearing aids in but I mainly lip read. It was quite hard when we first started dating but we are getting the hang of it now and understand each other most of the time. 

He is so loving and sweet and helps me with everyday tasks. I don’t sleep with my hearing aids in so he wakes me up every morning as I often can’t hear my alarm. He listens out for the door if I’m expecting a delivery and he always puts the subtitles on for me! 

If he’s forgotten his keys, he’s often left outside ringing the doorbell for hours! It’s not always easy for him but he’s incredibly kind and patient.


Georgia has flown all over the world for work[/caption]

Olivia West

Georgia used to wear her hair down to cover her hearing aids[/caption]


Georgia stars in The Windsors[/caption]

Everyday tasks like walking around safely can be hard for someone who’s deaf. I don’t hear cars coming up behind me and struggle to know which direction noises are coming from.

I have nearly been knocked over and due to my disability and I’ve also not heard fire alarms go off. 

People, including friends, can also get quite angry and frustrated with me. They accuse me of shouting at them or being aggressive because I often talk loudly.  But it’s simply because I cannot hear the volume of my own voice. 

I was scared to hug my boyfriend in case he felt my hearing aids

Georgia Meacham

People can also think I’m cold or aloof at the gym but really it’s because I’ve taken my hearing aids out to exercise as they can get quite sweaty so I don’t give eye contact to avoid conversations I won’t be able to hear.

The same applies to beach holidays, swimming and of course, when it’s raining as they’re not waterproof. 

People probably look at me and think ‘tall blonde model who doesn’t have any struggles’ – but I want to show people that disability doesn’t have a certain look.

Nearly a quarter of women in the UK are disabled

Women’s Budget Group

Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of women in the UK are disabled, according to the Women’s Budget Group – we still need more representation in the media.

I look at role models like Love Island star Tasha Ghouri and Strictly winner Rose Ayling-Ellis and I feel like I want to be as confident as them.

And after all these years, I’m finally getting there. It feels so liberating to just be me and I can’t wait for this next chapter of my life.

Being able to work and just concentrate on my actual career rather than hiding my hearing aids is already empowering me to achieve significantly more. 

I want to inspire young girls and boys who may be feeling the same way I did and I want them to know they’re not alone. 

Deafness in the UK

  • Three babies are born deaf in the UK every day
  • There are more than 50,000 deaf children in the UK
  • Half of those are born deaf. The other half become deaf during childhood.
  • More than 90 per cent of deaf children are born to hearing parents
  • 78 per cent  of deaf children in the UK attend mainstream schools where they may be the only deaf child
  • In England, deaf children achieve, on average, a whole grade less in each subject than other children in their GCSEs 
  • In Wales, deaf children are 21percent less likely to reach the expected attainment levels for the foundation phase than other children 
  • In Scotland deaf learners are twice as likely to leave school without any qualifications at all
  • In Northern Ireland, only one in five deaf pupils go to university and over a quarter leave school with fewer than five GCSE passes
  • 12 million adults in the UK are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus
  • Deaf people are twice as likely to be out of work as their hearing peers. However, with the right support or adjustments in place, deaf people can work in a wide range of jobs

For information and support contact National Deaf Children’s Society at or the Royal Institute for the Deaf on

Looking forward to the future


Georgia says she’s been ‘blown away’ by the messages of support[/caption]

I’ve been blown away by the messages I’ve received from parents whose children are deaf. They’ve thanked me for speaking out and raising awareness. 

I’m no longer going to keep my hair down to cover them or hide away, I’m going to wear my hearing aids with pride – and I may even rock my pink, sparkly ones again!” 

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