Meet Angela Rockwood.
How an industry activist, producer, and actress is using Android Accessibility features to make power moves.
5 Minute read
It’s 3 a.m. and Angela Rockwood is firing off emails to a producer for a new reality show she’s developing: a reboot of Push Girls, the beloved docu-series Angela co-produced and starred in seven years ago, about the lives of four women living with paralysis in Hollywood.
Now Angela’s working on bringing it back.
A night owl, Angela’s days often end at 6 a.m. By the time her peers begin logging into work, Angela has already spoken to a client she’s life-coaching, posted on her Instagram, instant-messaged folks from her quadropolegic support group, countered an offer for motivational speaking, and gone over her schedule for the day—all with the assistance of her Android phone’s menu of accessibility apps. “My phone is like my second brain—she remembers things for me,” Angela laughs.
This unshakable hustle has always been one of Angela’s defining characteristics. In the late 90s and early ’00s, Angela had a fast-growing acting career with parts in movies like The Fast and the Furious and the TV show VIP. Then, in 2001, Angela was in a major car accident and now has paralysis in her four limbs. In the decade that followed, she worked diligently to recover physically. At the same time, she forced her way back into entertainment, an industry that gives few opportunities to women with disabilities, and re-made a name for herself in showbiz. In 2012, she starred in and produced Push Girls for the Sundance Channel. After the success of the show, Angela landed modeling gigs with both Maybelline and Nordstrom.
“I have to constantly keep up with texts and voicemails from producers and collaborators. So I’ll use TalkBack [on Android] to have my messages and voicemails read out loud to me.”
In addition to growing her own career, Angela strives to maximize opportunities for other actors and actresses with disabilities by developing new film and television projects with disabled cast members and storylines that break from the industry’s common reliance on stereotypes. For Angela, this means juggling a million tasks at once, which is why she’s employed her Android phone and its accessibility features as her secret weapon for getting her to-do list done. She especially loves TalkBack, a screen reader that reads text aloud so she can listen to texts or emails without looking at the screen. Because Angela has some paralysis in her fingers, she uses her Android Accessibility Menu’s larger, on-screen buttons to increase the brightness of the screen or adjust the volume on a call with a producer. When Angela’s sitting up at her desk, she uses her knuckles to navigate her screen and type. While laying down, she uses TalkBack to read emails and messages. No swiping, button pressing, or phone gripping required — although, she laughs, she occasionally uses her tongue to navigate between windows.
“I’ve met people from all different walks of life, and they know where to reach me if they need help with anything—because they know how passionate I am about empowering our community.”
A focal point of Angela’s workspace is her vision board, filled with everything that she wants to manifest in the coming months and years. It includes all of the projects on her plate at the moment: the Push Girls reboot, the memoir she’s recently started writing, and the support group she runs—affectionately called “Chairlies Warriors - The Rolling Empire —among countless other projects.
Angela lives life at full velocity. “I can text faster than anyone I know,” she says. “I can post something on Facebook or Instagram, or in a chat room with a bunch of women in wheelchairs.” She sits back and muses on how many people she is reaching.
The answer is countless many.
How Angela does it.
To maintain all elements of her career, Angela needs to multi-task. Talkback is a screen reader on her Android that gives spoken feedback so that she can use her device without looking at the screen. Angela uses it to read messages and voicemails back to her while she’s reviewing her vision board or writing a pitch for a show.Learn more
Angela uses the Accessibility Menu to navigate her phone. The Accessibility Menu provides a number of shortcuts for using your phone in different ways. Instead of pressing down on a phone’s side button to change the volume or power off her device, Angela can use her knuckle to tap the Accessibility Menu’s volume or power button.Learn more
Accessibility Menu, TalkBack, and Google Assistant support Angela’s fast-paced lifestyle, so that she can easily manage the coordination of her calendar. Angela speaks to her Google Assistant to add events, meetings, and conference calls to her schedule.Learn more
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Watch and read more stories about people who have transformed their daily lives, using Android.See more stories