Throughout the 2020s, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has continued to make strides with diverse talent and representation at the forefront of many of its projects. Eternals featured several firsts for superhero casts, including Lauren Ridoff as the first deaf actor to portray a superhero in the franchise. Season 2 of What If introduced Kahhori, an original hero whose character drew heavy inspiration from the Native American Mohawk tribe.
In 2024, the MCU seeks to continue that trend with Echo, the new streaming series that features a deaf Native American heroine as the main protagonist. First introduced in the Hawkeye series, the titular Echo receives her own story as she faces off against the criminal organization led by her former father figure, the Kingpin.
Actress Alaqua Cox reprises her role as the lead character, leading many to wonder if the actress is deaf in real life. Get to know the groundbreaking actress.
Is Alaqua Cox deaf in real life? The actress proudly represents different communities as an MCU heroine.
Alaqua Cox is proud to represent both the Deaf community and her indigenous Native American tribe as a hero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The actress was born completely deaf and raised in the Menominee Indian reservation in Wisconsin. Her family is part of the Menominee and Mohican nation.
In her childhood, she attended the Wisconsin School for the Deaf and played for various sports teams. In interviews, she communicates solely through American Sign Language and is typically accompanied by a hearing interpreter.
She received her acting debut in Hawkeye as Echo and even had the opportunity to communicate with co-stars Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld using ASL. Alaqua has since used her substantial platform to advocate for uplift deaf and Indigenous youths. Since being featured in Hawkeye, she has taught at various international branches of School for the Deaf.
After learning that she was going to star in her own spinoff she was all too surprised and proud to represent her communities.
In a 2021 red carpet interview with Variety, Alaqua expressed shock and gratitude that she would be starring in her own spinoff.
She stated, "It's just so crazy that I'm getting my own show after Hawkeye. That was my first acting role, ever! I don't know why they're giving me this opportunity, but I'm just grateful. I'm excited for the support and being able to advocate for the Deaf community."
As of this writing, Echo remains Alaqua's only acting credit, yet her casting has already made waves in diverse representation in Hollywood. After one recurring role, she already has the opportunity to provide an immense platform for the Deaf and Indigenous Native American communities in her new show.