Actress Olivia Wilde starred in a moving PSA celebrating the lives of people with Down Syndrome in honor of World Down Syndrome Day Monday.
The video is narrated by Anna Rubright, a 19-year-old New Jersey college student with Down Syndrome.
Rubright describes how she sees herself, “as a daughter, sister, and a best friend … singing, dancing, and laughing” just an “ordinary person, with an important, meaningful, beautiful life.”
Olivia Wilde portrays these moments in Rubright’s life and at the conclusion of the video Wilde’s reflection in the mirror pans to Rubright herself saying, “This is how I see myself. How do you see me?”
Rubright told the Washington Post Sunday that people are often surprised to learn that she attends college, dates, and went to “regular” high school classes.
“It makes me feel sad and disappointed,” she told the Post. “I’m not treated with respect and I’m not treated as if I’m important.”
Rubright now affectionately describes Olivia Wilde as her “twin,” according to the Post.
The PSA was produced by Saatchi & Saatchi New York, an advertising firm, and CoorDown, an Italian association for people with Down syndrome.
The video did receive some backlash from Emily Ladau, a disability rights activist with Larsen syndrome and writer at The Daily Beast.
“Why couldn’t AnnaRose portray her own life?” Ladau asked. “Why couldn’t she be shown dancing, laughing, sitting on the couch with a loved one, walking on the beach with family? If she says that she sees herself doing these things, why isn’t she literally seen doing them?”
Ladau took issue with Wilde portraying ordinary life for Rubright when often life for a person with disabilities looks different than what the actress portrays. She argued that “the PSA would have been much more effective if it had shown AnnaRose and Olivia Wilde laughing and dancing together.”
However, the PSA also received some grateful responses on Twitter from parents of children with Down Syndrome.