Have you watched the new show on Netflix called Down for Love? It’s a reality dating show for people with Down syndrome, and we’re celebrating the start of Down Syndrome Awareness month with a conversation with the producer of Down for Love, Robyn Paterson. We talk about:
- How the show was created
- The diversity of the Down syndrome community
- The universal desire for love, relationships, and connection
- BONUS CONTENT: At the end of the episode, I talk with Penny, our 17-year-old daughter who has Down syndrome, about her thoughts on Down for Love.
FREE DOWNLOAD: 5 THINGS I WISH I’D KNOWN WHEN OUR DAUGHTER WAS DIAGNOSED WITH DOWN SYNDROME
TIME ESSAY: Doctors Don’t Know How to Talk About Down Syndrome
“Robyn Paterson is a New Zealand-based producer, director and writer known for Down for Love (2022), Grand Designs New Zealand (2015) and In the Zone (2018). She works across various roles within multiple formats, including television factual, documentary & entertainment series, documentary feature, web-series, comedy, and drama. She has a background as an actress and presenter, and is the current president of the Directors & Editors Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand.”
On the Podcast:
- Down for Love
- New Zealand Down Syndrome Association
- Penny in Her Own Words: What I Thought About Netflix’s Down for Love
YouTube Channel: video with closed captions
Season 7 of the Love Is Stronger Than Fear podcast connects to themes in my latest book, To Be Made Well, which you can order here! Learn more about my writing and speaking at amyjuliabecker.com.
Note: This transcript is autogenerated using speech recognition software and does contain errors.
Amy Julia (5s):
Hi friends, I’m Amy Julia Becker, and this is Love. is Stronger Than Fear. Today we get to hear from Robyn Paterson. She is the producer of a new show on Netflix, which I hope you have seen, but if you haven’t, it is called Down For Love five episodes. So great, so fun. You’ll get to hear more about Down for Love in this episode of the Podcast. But the very short version is that it’s a reality dating show for people with down Syndrome. Well, the, the dating part is for people with down Syndrome. The show is for all of us. Many of you know that my daughter, our daughter Penny, has down Syndrome And. she is 17 years old. We watched it together.
Amy Julia (46s):
So not only will you get to hear me talk with Robin about the show, but if you stick around to the end, you’ll also get to hear me talk with Penny about the show. October is down Syndrome Awareness Month and there’s a lot going on in our world to heighten awareness about the fullness of life with Down Syndrome. That’s true in this episode, and I want you to keep tuning in here. It’ll be true in the next episode as well. But I would also love to invite you to just check out my social media accounts for some opportunities to hear from Penny in her own words and to have other reflections about life with down Syndrome and disability in general. But for now, here is my conversation with Robyn Paterson.
Amy Julia (1m 28s):
So I’m here talking with Robyn Paterson And. she is a producer of the producer of Netflix’s new show down for Love And. she is joining me from New Zealand today. So Robin, welcome.
Robyn (1m 42s):
Thank you so much. It’s great to be here.
Amy Julia (1m 44s):
Yeah, thank you so much for being here. It was funny, we had a little bit of a, just trying to figure out literally what time we each were talking from, but I am, I’m coming in from Wednesday afternoon and Robin is coming in from Thursday morning and it’s kind of amazing that we get to do that. I wanted to start though by just, I’m sure we’ve got listeners to this podcast who have not seen Down For Love, which I will talk about because I’ve seen every episode and I’m thrilled with it. But I thought maybe Robin, you could start by just telling us the story of how you came to create this show. Like how did you envision it, how did you go about making it? Because then that will also introduce people to the show itself.
Robyn (2m 26s):
Yeah, sure. Well, there, there’s a little bit of a long story to that. The company responsible for the show is called Attitude Pictures. They’re a new Zealand based company. I’ve worked, I, I’m actually a documentary filmmaker the majority of the time, and I have worked with Attitude on and off over the last few years in a freelance capacity, directing some episodes here and there. And I had, I’d actually just come back into the country from Chicago because I had a, a film release over there and Covid Struck, which changed a lot of things, obviously for everybody.
Robyn (3m 8s):
And for me that meant being based here, new Zealand and New Zealand. We were really lucky over that time that we didn’t have Covid in the community for quite a long time. Long time. And I ended up producing a series for Attitude that a series that’s been long running since I think 2005, which is a Sunday morning show here, that each episode is about somebody living with a disability. And that is in, in various different capacities. And obviously over the years that’s changed enormously from a magazine style show to more of a documentary style show. So I was working on that and the company owner, Robin Scott, Vincent, another Robin, had the idea that she wanted to do something in the space of down Syndrome and relationships.
Robyn (3m 58s):
I had a background working in primetime tv, so I thought I could take that and actually make it something that could appeal to a wider audience and bring awareness to a wider audience. So I brought on board a creative team of people, including Director Canada Beverage after developing the concept for, for Down For Love, which is really, I guess along the lines of a, a dating show Yeah. For people living with down Syndrome. And the, the reasoning behind that was So that people living with down Syndrome would be treated equally to other people just as much, just as much Right.
Robyn (4m 42s):
To a relationship. Before, while we were developing the concept though, had a lot of consultation with people in the down Syndrome community participants and Zandra VAs who runs the new Zealand down Syndrome organization here. So we had a lot of conversation even before the concept came about in terms of what people were looking for in the community, what people’s frustrations were, and also what, you know, people wanted to see and also participate in. So there was a lot of conversation before that show came about. So, sorry, that’s a long-winded way of coming back to the show, but it’s a little bit of background there.
Amy Julia (5m 22s):
No, that’s what I wanted to hear because I think when I first heard about the show, I’m always a little bit wary as the mother of someone with Down Syndrome. I just wonder how is down Syndrome gonna be portrayed or is this going to be an a fully realized picture or is this going to be, I don’t know, kind of using people with down Syndrome as a prop? And I’ve was obviously, I wouldn’t be talking to you if I wasn’t like really excited about the way in which you approached the entire topic, but I do, I, you can tell that there was incredible intentionality in the way you went about not just the kind of dating aspect of things, which is obviously kind of the hook for the show.
Amy Julia (6m 7s):
Like who’s gonna end up with who and how is this gonna be developed? But in really doing some of the background work on these individuals and their stories and their families and really showing both yeah, the, the fullness of their lives, which we’ll get to talk about a little bit. But I wanted to start by just asking like how did you actually go about finding participants? Like how did you find your, I mean characters, for lack of a better word, ’cause I know it’s reality, so it’s, they’re not characters like fictional characters, but they’re still kind of playing a role in some ways.
Robyn (6m 38s):
Well, first of all, thank you for saying that And, that that, ’cause that was super important to us that, that that was the approach of the show and also that people living with down Syndrome were very much able to lead their own stories and not have their stories told by somebody. And. that was a really key part to, you know, how we wanted to conceive off the, the show in terms of how we went about finding people. and we were so lucky to find amazing people in the community. Some people we knew already because we’d worked with them before. People like Carlos, we were familiar with his photography. He’d won awards for his photography. My sister actually runs an organization called Upside Downs, which is working with speech therapy for children with down Syndrome And.
Robyn (7m 25s):
she had done a little bit of work with Carlos in terms of his poetry and bringing his poetry to, to younger people who also live with Down Syndrome. ’cause he is a bit of an inspiration Yeah. To them there. He, he’s an incredible, he’s got an incredible facility for language in general. Lily, we had worked with before, we’re familiar with Lily, she’s an an actress. She’d done plays that we had had covered as a story. And Libby Huns was a bit of a, a movie star. She had recently released a film, lovely film called Poppy, which she’d done a a a beautiful job as the lead actress.
Robyn (8m 5s):
So we were familiar with Libby as well. So we reached out to them. All of them were very keen to be involved. And beyond that it was really the creative team. We had a researcher, two researchers who went out into the community, contacted community organizations. We put a call out to see if people were interested and people put their hands up. You know, there, there were a lot of people who were really keen to be part of it. A lot of them expressed that they’d been looking for relationships and found it very difficult to find people or connect with people. So that’s another thing that we wanted to do was really help that process whether or not people became part of the show or found a romantic partner through the show.
Robyn (8m 51s):
We wanted to make sure that we were putting a lot of work into finding genuine pairings for people in terms of what their desires were in a partner, what their interests were as people. And really trying to match people up very carefully, So that even if they didn’t find a romantic relationship through the show, that they would find a really solid friendship and people that they could have an ongoing connection with. We really wanted to stay away from, I know that sometimes in reality television people are sometimes paired for the drama of what Woolens ensure or the fireworks. We really wanted to stay away from that and make sure that we were considering very carefully who we put together in the hope that they would, you know, form a genuine connection.
Amy Julia (9m 40s):
Hmm. Well, and and it does, I mean you see that just the both, the genuine connection part as well as the, some of them end up in friendships. I’m not gonna give too much away here and others in romantic relationships. And you also hear this kind of undercurrent of real desire for those friendships and relationships and the fact that that is a challenge, even though once you kind of watch those forming, you think, oh my gosh, I would like to be friends with this person. There’s just a genuineness and a sincerity to all of them who are very different from one another. And yet that sense of just like a kind of open and vulnerable heart, I do think was a through line among like most of the characters.
Amy Julia (10m 22s):
So anyway, I really, really loved them and I did, I wanted to pause for just a minute and tell you a little bit of how I came to even know about the show. So I learned two of my friends who are middle aged, like my age single women who are not directly connected. I mean they’re connected to me, but they, they do not have children with down Syndrome. They do not have siblings with down Syndrome. They do not have down Syndrome. They are the ones who told me, oh my gosh, I have just binge watched this show. You have to watch it. Wow. And it was just what was really interesting, and it’s kind of what I was saying about that sincerity, like I, they were so, as single women, they were so taken by the sincerity of the relationships as they were portrayed by the honesty and affection and, and people who are willing to say, I really want this.
Amy Julia (11m 15s):
This is something that really matters to me. Or it’s been really hard. So it was almost like there was this beautiful idealism, but also realism that they wanted love and didn’t know if it was gonna work out the way they wanted. And I have these friends who are in a very similar position, even though on the face of it, they do not appear to be the same. So you mentioned earlier wanting this to have kind of a wider appeal, like a broader audience. So I’m curious what you’ve known it’s only been out for, I don’t know, a month. Is that right? Like it’s pretty, pretty recent.
Robyn (11m 47s):
Yeah. It on Netflix. Yeah. Okay. It actually aired, but the strange thing is that this is going back in time a little for me because we actually filmed it in 2021. Ah, okay. So, and it came out in New Zealand at the start of 2022. So it’s, it’s sort of, it’s back in reaching back in my memory now. Yes. But, but yeah, it’s, it’s so heartwarming to hear that because that that is very much, I guess our approach when we went into it is that the search for love and relationships and connection, whether or not that’s romantic connection is universal. It’s something that we all feel, it’s something that we all struggle with at times and have our ups and downs and our highs and lows.
Robyn (12m 27s):
And people living with down Syndrome or any disability or intellectual disability are no different And. that I guess is what we wanted to express through the show. Yeah. Because it is something that we can
Amy Julia (12m 38s):
All relate to. Well clearly that worked in terms of just my friends, sorry, I lost, who responded so well to those initial viewings and they said, you know, not only do you need to watch this, but I think you need to watch it with Penny so as listeners to this show will know. But I have a daughter who’s 17 and has down Syndrome and her name is Penny. And so I asked her if she would watch this show with me And. she was like, sure. And I think she was a little bit, you know, like, eh, what’s it gonna be like? but we ended up watching all five episodes together and what was neat about it was, I mean, we just enjoyed it together and it also was, I think there were two things that happened. One, it gave like a prompt for some conversations that I think both of us have wanted to have around dating, friendship, romance, like some of, some of those types of questions.
Amy Julia (13m 28s):
And that’s just really helpful to have a prompt for that, to be able to say, okay, who could you relate to? And, and what did you feel when you saw this? And what do you think about that? But also it made me think a lot about how important it is to how important storytelling is in shaping our imaginations for what is possible in life. Yes. And for most people who do not have down Syndrome, there is an imagination around love and romance and marriage be that’s just kind of handed to you by the culture. And that’s often not the case with people with intellectual disabilities and with down Syndrome in particular. And so I’m curious, like, I don’t know how you felt, like, what gave you the freedom to imagine those possibilities?
Amy Julia (14m 13s):
Like how did you have an imagination for that, if that makes sense? And I don’t mean imagination in the sense of like making up this story that couldn’t be true just to being able to see something that actually could be true, but other people might not have eyes to see it. Does that make sense?
Robyn (14m 27s):
Yeah, absolutely. And look, I I createdThe lot of the conversations we had in the, in the, in the, I guess the origin process of the show, I had a lot of conversations with Sandra from the New Zealand down Syndrome Association and families in the community, just really talking about, you know, where people are at and, and their feelings around it. ’cause we wanted, it was really important to us to get that right, I think, and to find the right level for that. And what people expressed a lot of the time was the feeling, and this includes some of the people who became participants, was the feeling that, you know, there’s often a well-intentioned but overly protective bubble that’s put around people with intellectual disabilities.
Robyn (15m 10s):
Yes. Which they really feel limits their, their choices and their ability to have fulfilling relationships in the way that they see their siblings having and other people around them and friends. And there’s a lot of reaching out and wanting that families also express that they felt they would love to encourage their children and help their children to, and I say children because a lot of them were talking about teenagers, but you know, in a lot, in the case of Down for Love, of course we’re talking about adults. We, you know, we had an, an 18 cutoff So that everyone was in that bracket. We, you know, and be people saying that they were struggling with how sometimes they were getting feedback from the community.
Robyn (15m 53s):
Like you shouldn’t be, you know, allowing your adult child to have a connection and, and people being concerned about that. But there was a real expression of a desire to have that conversation and to change that conversation And, that that narrative and to treat people equally And that regard. And to empower people to be able to have fulfilling romantic and other relationships. Like, like anybody else, you know, Zandra from New Zealand down Syndrome Association is very strong on that And that, you know, people should be empowered and they have every right to have relationships like everyone else.
Robyn (16m 35s):
So I think that gave us the confidence going into the show that we’d really, you know, listened to the community on that one And that we were really wanting to make that possible for, for our participants who were really expressing that desire.
Amy Julia (16m 50s):
Well, I love that,
Robyn (16m 51s):
But it’s an important conversation.
Amy Julia (16m 53s):
Yeah, that’s what I was gonna say. I, I mean there I have two different strains of thought from what you just said. Yeah. One is just that it is, I do think the, I I learned, and it’s a pretty simple phrase, but the phrase, the dignity of risk a couple of months ago as it pertains to like really how important it is as a parent who, and this is true for all of my children, but I feel it the most with Penny it, I’m so want to protect her. And there is such a sense of like, oh my gosh, you’re more vulnerable than other people, so I need to protect you more. And yet it is giving her the dignity that she is due to let her take risks. And, that might be the risk of like preparing food, whether that’s like taking a piece of toast out of the oven, And she might burn herself or cutting a, you know, pepper to eat for dinner.
Amy Julia (17m 43s):
Or the risk of a relationship, the risk of, you know, some sort of, whether it’s physical or emotional, whether that’s rejection or acceptance. I mean, there are risks all involved there. And I think there has been such a sense of, as parents having to protect our children from this kind of big, scary world. And we’re, there is a conversation about, but what is, what would it mean to actually equip and empower them to go into that world? And I think there’s more and more of that happening. And again, shows like this help us to actually imagine that that could be, could be possible. So I, I really appreciated that and thought a lot about it. And it again, was a good prompt for me to be able to talk to Penny about some of those things about, you know, what does it mean to feel in your body that you’re attracted to someone?
Amy Julia (18m 30s):
What does it mean? Yeah. You, there’s a lot of conversation around consent, whether that’s the consent to hold hands or to do something that’s much more physical between two, you know, romantically involved partners. So I just really appreciated the way throughout, I mean, it really came throughout the show and there were early on especially, you had some conversations where you saw parents both grappling with how much are we gonna let them explore and do? And also being like, yeah, we want them to be able to like really live their lives and we believe they can do that and deserve to be able to do that.
Robyn (19m 4s):
Thank you. Yeah, we really wanted to include that conversation with parents because that’s so relevant to the situation. And of course it is, it is challenging territory. I’m a mom. I understand. And we, we were also lucky enough to work with an organization here called To Be Frank, which is all about making romantic relationships and intimacy accessible to people living with all kinds of disability, including intellectual disability. Yeah. They do a lot of work. So they, you know, we worked hand in hand with them as well. I’m glad you raised consent because that is a really key issue when it comes to these situations. And consent was something that we wanted to be, you know, really aware of as we were going into the process as well.
Robyn (19m 47s):
And so to be frank, we’re a wonderful organization to work with and to work with some of our participants on and off screen as we were going through, through the process to make sure that that was safe for everybody as well. Because yeah, like you said, you know, there’s a lot of conversation to be had, but what a lot of the feedback that we’ve had along the way and since the show came out is that people have been having these conversations with their children, with their partners, with their adults who have down Syndrome And that conversation’s being had more widely. And I think that’s a positive thing.
Amy Julia (20m 27s):
Yeah. I, I, I believe so. And I’m, another question I had, this is kind of a different tack, but this is not a documentary. You have a documentary background and there were decisions made to not pull out and say, let me tell you the viewer what down Syndrome is. Okay. And let me explain the, you know, potential biases that people with down Syndrome face, or let me, you know, there really was a sense of allowing characters to represent themselves. And then as a viewer we either, you know, we think what we’re gonna think about it and I’m curious like how you made those decisions, like just that decision not to make even parts of this documentary and really let it be a dating show.
Robyn (21m 19s):
Yeah, well it was, it was really important to me to find that balance because, you know, we wanted to yes, make a dating show And that relatability to everybody and it’s recognizably a dating show. However, we also wanted to take that documentary lens to it So that we were taking more of a documentary approach when it came to allowing people to lead their own stories, filming people with their families a little bit, not putting, we were very cautious with the narrator voice So, that that was really, you know, sort of, I guess filling in gaps rather than leading the story or telling people what to think. That was important to us.
Robyn (21m 59s):
And, and So for me, bringing on board Canada Beverages director was, was key to that. I wanted to bring on board another documentary filmmaker who really understood that sensibility and was gonna maintain that approach as we were doing the filming. I had previously, we actually, I first met Canada when she interviewed me after a documentary film that I had put out about Zimbabwe because I grew up in Zimbabwe. Hmm. And, she was working for B B C World Service at the time. She’s originally from the UK And. that, that’s how we met. And then we’ve crossed paths a number of times since in our documentary work. So I knew that I could trust candidate to understand the sensibility that I wanted to carry through the show.
Robyn (22m 46s):
And again, that was, I felt that was an important part of, I guess safeguarding the community, And that message and not wanting to apply that sort of reality construct and make it about entertainment. We really wanted to convey people’s own thinking and, and allow them and empower them to tell their own stories.
Amy Julia (23m 6s):
Yeah. It felt really respectful to me and, and I think to Penny as well. ’cause again, she, it was really interesting to hear her responses to the show because she did just talk about, I asked her some questions afterwards, And, she talked about how as a, and And, she, and I’ve asked her before whether it matters to her to see people with down Syndrome represented in movies. And she’s been like, no, not really. Like I can relate to anyone. It doesn’t really matter. But I think in this case, she actually did, I mean, she said, I felt really connected to this because I’m a person who has down Syndrome and I, I did feel like I was able to really connect to the characters and, you know, just yeah.
Amy Julia (23m 52s):
Relate to them. So I appreciated the sense of respect and dignity that the all the different characters were given. One other thing I wanted to ask you about. So there are a couple different storylines that we get in the backstory of the characters So that I, I think it was Lily who very matter of factly tells I I I guess in either in an interview, I guess in an interview format, says that her parents were not able to take care of her. And so she was adopted. and we have another kind of backstory of a young man with down Syndrome who has been adopted. We meet other characters who’ve lost parents just to cancer and to other, you know, just real stuff.
Amy Julia (24m 37s):
So there’s kind of this undercurrent in some of the stories of loss and of hardship. There’s also, I was really struck actually by Lily as well in terms of an undercurrent of joy and self-acceptance. Like there was just this sense of not being in any way egotistical, but having like high regard for herself, like in a, in a pot. And what I would say is a really positive way. So I was thinking about like, she has high self-esteem, but as far as I can tell as a viewer, like low ego, like able to celebrate other people, able to admit her own mistakes and able to like really think well of herself when she does something well. So I just loved the fullness of life with, for people with down Syndrome, which is of course full the fullness of life for people who are people.
Amy Julia (25m 25s):
But I loved the way, even in these, just very small, you know, it wasn’t like we had this long backstory about adoption or about death at all. And yet there was also this sense of like, yeah, these are real people who are dealing with real hard things and also who have joy in their lives. And I just really appreciated that full portrait of the fullness of their lives.
Robyn (25m 49s):
Thank you. Yeah, I appreciate hearing that. It was, you know, something that we really considered was wanting to show the diversity of the down Syndrome community because as, as you said, like, like everyone’s community is diverse, it’s not one thing. And I think often, you know, in, in our experience of how people talk about sometimes and handle down Syndrome, it tends to be lumped into one basket as if people are, are all the same. But of course this isn’t the case with any community. There is so much diversity within it. and we really wanted to celebrate that and show that as well as part of, you know, I think these things on the surface of it, you have a dating show, but we really wanted those layers of, I guess, awareness to come through in terms of people’s understanding And, that that was one of them was showing that sort of, I guess, diversity within the community.
Robyn (26m 48s):
But it was also a key part of our casting process that we wanted our participants to have to all have a degree of self-confidence because we were very conscious of vulnerability in, in going through any process, like any filming process for anybody, regardless of ability is it can be challenging. and we wanted to really make sure that anybody that we cast was able to and well supported enough in their families and lives to be able to handle the process and have a good experience.
Amy Julia (27m 21s):
Hmm. I’m curious for you personally, just, and you’ve obviously done work kind of in this space of working with people with disabilities in the past, but I am curious whether working on this project, how that affected you? Like how did it change anything for you in terms of how you see the world or the way you think about things? Or was it more just an affirmation of things you already knew? Yeah. How did it affect you to be a part of this?
Robyn (27m 47s):
That’s a really interesting question. I mean, look, it’s impossible to be a part of the show and not be affected emotionally by everyone’s stories. I think all of us were, as a team, I think it was one of the most heartfelt journeys that we, we went on and we really felt all of the highs and lows for our participants as they went through the journey. I think we were very, very invested emotionally in that journey with people. It was, it was an interesting time because the show was actually filmed shortly before Covid did enter the community, finally in New Zealand towards the end of 2021.
Robyn (28m 29s):
And just prior to that, we had actually done the majority of our filming just before that happened. And, but we ended up in a very long lockdown here in Auckland just as filming ended. So all of our post-production was actually done remotely. I was in one place, director was in one place, Editors was in one place, participants obviously all individually at home. So we were communicating remotely through that process, which was very strange. And then the second part of it was filmed after Covid within the community. So we were, we were putting Covid protocols in place and filming a little differently with distancing and so forth. So it’s a little hard to untangle the, you know, so the, the emotions of that journey went all over the place.
Robyn (29m 14s):
Right. But certainly it was an, an insight into yeah, I mean, into, into so many things. And I think that that journey that you go on with people, you know, sort of throughout and the messages that we’re wanting the audience to take from it were also really affirmed for us through the process of doing this. And I, I mean, I learned a lot, I learned a lot from, from everybody who was involved. There’s always so much you, you know, know you, you can know so much and you can consult so much, but there’s always so much new learning to be had when you actually undertake a journey like this. And yeah, it really opened my eyes to a lot of things.
Amy Julia (29m 52s):
Well, and you may have already answered this question, but my, the final question I was going to ask you was one that, the only one that Penny wanted me to ask you, and I, because I said to her, I was like, what do you want me to ask? I get to talk to the producer of the show. And she kept saying, I don’t know, I don’t know. After we watched each episode and then we finally got to the end of the final episode, And, she said, I do have a question. And I said, well, what is it? And her question is, are you going to make another season So that, my question for you, are you going to make another season? I’m sure you’ve been asked this because there is, there’s a little bit of a cliffhanger on multiple cruise chip when we get to the end of the
Robyn (30m 28s):
Well, yeah. Look, that’s a really good question and it’s a slightly complicated answer. The short answer is yes, there is another season underway. Yay. So, so yeah, So, that is something to, to look forward to. The, the slightly more complicated end of that is that unfortunately none of us who were involved in the first season are involved in the second season. So it’s being made by an entirely different team of people. The, the, the, yeah, there were a lot of changes at the company just just after this came out and, and a lot of us sort of mo moved, including the executive producer, me, the, the director, the editor and so forth, we, we all, we’ve, we’ve moved on, but there is a second season coming out and I’m, I’m sure they will continue what we started and yeah, I look forward to seeing it like everybody else.
Robyn (31m 21s):
So it’ll be interesting to see.
Amy Julia (31m 24s):
That will be interesting just to compare and I’m kind of glad to have that insider information whenever it does come out. But yeah, I do think it is a sign, my other friend who, one of the women who told us in the first place to watch it was like, I really want to know what has happened to these different characters and I yeah. Like, I just wanna know how they’re doing in their life now. So there is a sense of feeling really connected and invested in the stories, which I think is yeah, speaks to the storytelling that you and your team were able to do. O obviously speaks to them as humans as well, but also to the ways you were able to convey, to convey something true about their stories.
Robyn (32m 6s):
Thank you so much. And I, I it’s been an absolute pleasure to stay in touch with so many of the participants, even though, you know, we haven’t continued into the second season as a creative team. We are all, we all love hearing from so many of the participants who still contact us with updates and for chats and, and getting in touch So that, that’s been really nice, hearing what they’re getting up to. And of, of course, we’re still in touch with the new Zealand down Syndrome Association who also keep us posted So. that, that’s been wonderful just to, to kind of stay, I won’t, I won’t give away any spoilers, but yeah, there’s a lot, a lot been happening in so many of their lives and it’s, it’s wonderful to have that connection ongoing.
Amy Julia (32m 49s):
Well, I may, when we stop recording, ask for a few spoilers, but we’ll leave it at that for now. And I will just say to everyone who’s listening, obviously that I just highly recommend this show, And. that is, it was a wonderful experience for me to watch with my teenager with Down Syndrome, but I, I can speak on behalf of other women my age at least and say that they really loved watching it too. And actually both my son and my daughter who are younger than Penny watched not all five episodes, but also were really felt really invested and wanted to know what was gonna happen. So you made something beautiful and we are grateful, really grateful for it.
Amy Julia (33m 30s):
Thank you. All right. We’ve got a really fun bonus feature to this episode today, which is that I’m sitting here with my daughter Penny and as you all have just heard, Penny and I got to watch Down for Love Together. So I asked her if she would join me for a few minutes on the Podcast just to talk about the experience of watching that show. So, hi Penn. Hi. I would love to hear you describe Down for Love. So how would you describe it to someone who has not ever seen it before?
3 (34m 2s):
Down For Love is a reality dating show where people with down Syndrome and other disabilities blind dates try to find love.
Amy Julia (34m 12s):
That is a great description. Thank you very much. What, like when you hear the name of it Down for Love, what do you think it means to be down for love?
3 (34m 22s):
I think Down For Love means Ew, down Syndrome and down to Final Connection or Love.
Amy Julia (34m 28s):
Yeah. I really like the title. Do you like the title? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So there are lots of characters in the show that we see over the course of like five different episodes. I’m curious who your favorite character was and your favorite couple.
3 (34m 43s):
My favorite character was Libby because there’s a lot of things in common with me. My favorite couple has Lib and Braden because all of the blind dates have been so creative and I connect more with each state.
Amy Julia (34m 57s):
Yeah, they were really fun to watch together, I thought. Yeah, I really, I really enjoyed them a lot. So I’m curious for you, did watching that show make you think about your own desire to date people?
3 (35m 10s):
Yes, I do as I had of boyfriend, but right now I’m enjoying single life.
Amy Julia (35m 15s):
Well, I’m glad to hear that. I’m glad you’re enjoying Single Life. In fact, I will say the Homecoming dance, which you just had where you were one of the single ladies, seemed like it was really fun. Am I right? Yeah. And there were a lot of you who were single and dancing together, right? Yeah. So that’s cool. But here’s my question for you. Do you think that it is harder to find people to date because you have down Syndrome?
3 (35m 38s):
I have only had one boyfriend in my life, which in a sort of vision did not last very long. It was, it was pretty easy for me to find a guy because he also has some sort of disability so we could connect him that way. We’ve been friends for a while and I think we’re gonna keep it that way.
Amy Julia (35m 59s):
So it felt like it was like easy to connect as boyfriend girlfriend in the beginning, even though it didn’t last. But that was because of both having a disability? Yeah. Yeah. Huh. Well I am looking forward to the day when you find the right guy for you and it can take as long as it needs to take, but I’m certain it’s gonna happen. Alright, back to Down for Love. Did you like the show? And I’m curious if you can say why or why not?
3 (36m 27s):
Yeah, I liked the show. I liked it because I could relate with trying to find a guy and trying to connect our interests together.
Amy Julia (36m 38s):
I felt like one thing I thought was really interesting. Do you remember who told us about the show in the first place?
3 (36m 45s):
Amy Julia (36m 46s):
So one of my friends who is single and a lot older than you and who does not have down Syndrome, but she really liked the show because she could relate with trying to find a guy and just really liked the the way they did it. So I do think that having down Syndrome felt like a really relatable thing. Yeah. But I also think that it just was like a sweet way to see a dating show. Yeah. Anyway, I’m curious for you, what are some questions that you have about dating and love?
3 (37m 17s):
I had a few different questions. Am I ever going to find love? How do I know if a guy likes me more than a friend? Does the guy feel the same way? What if I like a guy but he just wants to be a friends?
Amy Julia (37m 33s):
Those are all such good questions and we will use those as a basis for some conversations just between the two of us. Yeah. How about that? Okay. All right. What are some fears you have or challenges that you think you will face when it comes to like love and dating? The
3 (37m 47s):
Fear that I have is getting rejected and not having the same interests. Mm. A challenge that I think I would face if I like a guy more than a friend, but he only likes me as a friend.
Amy Julia (38m 2s):
Those are really common fears and challenges when it comes to dating. I I hear you. I think I had those things happen to me when I was in high school before I met your dad. Hmm. All. Well, what are some things you’re excited about when it comes to dating and romance?
3 (38m 17s):
I’m excited about trying to find someone who likes me for me or has the same interest as me.
Amy Julia (38m 23s):
Hmm. I love that. All right, my final question, Penn, do you recommend Down for Love and why? And do you think it’s only a show for people with down Syndrome or would you recommend it more widely?
3 (38m 36s):
I would recommend Down for Love because even though you may not have a boyfriend, I can inspire you to ask someone and create a good for state. Other people who don’t have down Syndrome can still watch it, but maybe won’t feel as connected as people with Down Syndrome. So it kind
Amy Julia (38m 51s):
Of felt like it was for you. Yeah. Is that right? Yeah. I love that. Is there anything else you wanna say? No. Okay. Thanks so much for being on the show, sweetie. Yes, it was great to have you. Thanks as always for listening to this episode of Love is Stronger Than Fear. There is more good stuff to come. Next time I’ll be talking with Stephanie Meredith, who is the author of a new study about receiving a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. And it may seem as though these episodes are particularly relevant for people in the down Syndrome community, and that’s true.
Amy Julia (39m 31s):
But what I want to do is have conversations that really invite a wider cultural gaze to be understanding why these issues related to disability and to down Syndrome in particular matter for all of us. So I hope you’ll join us for the Stephanie Meredith episode in two weeks. Well, it drops in two weeks depending upon when you’re listening to this podcast. Of course, I also had a chance to write about the study that Stephanie conducted and I wrote about it for time recently. So we will link to that in the show notes. I had an ESSAY called Doctors Don’t Know How to Talk About Down Syndrome. I also have a free gift available to anyone who heads over to my website, Amy Julia Becker dot com.
Amy Julia (40m 12s):
There you will see a popup And that will lead you to a resource with an ESSAY I wrote called Five THINGS I WISH I had known when our daughter was diagnosed with down Syndrome. It’s one of the fa my like favorite things I’ve ever written, and I would love for you to check it out and perhaps share it with a friend. Along those lines, if you do go over to Amy Julia Becker dot com slash newsletter, you can sign up for a free monthly email that’s full of reflections from me and also offers upcoming speaking events, books I’m reading podcast I’m listening to, and you know, other fun news. I’m gonna also ask a favor, would you do a really helpful thing for me and leave a review on Apple Podcast or Spotify or wherever you listen to this podcast.
Amy Julia (40m 57s):
It takes a couple of minutes and I know your time is precious, but your review helps this content to reach more people. So please do subscribe, share, review, all the things, So, that you don’t miss any new episodes and So that other people can really join into this community of learning and listening together. I love to hear from you. My email is Amy Julia Becker firstname.lastname@example.org. I am thankful for Jake Hanson for editing this podcast for Amber, be my social media coordinator and I’m thankful for you as my listener. So I do pray and hope that today as you go into all the things you’re doing, you’ll carry with you the peace that comes from believing that love is Stronger, Than, Fear.
Learn more with Amy Julia:
- To Be Made Well: An Invitation to Wholeness, Healing, and Hope
- S6 E15 | World Down Syndrome Day and Unexpected Gifts with Jillian Benfield
- S6 E3 | Down Syndrome and Belonging with Heather Avis
If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to receive regular updates and news. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads, and you can subscribe to my Love Is Stronger Than Fear podcast on your favorite podcast platforms.