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Alaqua Cox Embraces Historic Role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Jan 25, 2024 |

Making her acting debut as Maya Lopez (or Echo) in Marvel’s Hawkeye, Alaqua Cox is helping to expand the idea of who a superhero can be. As a deaf, Indigenous (Menominee/Mohican) woman who also happens to be an amputee, Alaqua is now the star of her own limited series, Echo, and she’s proud to give representation to each of these communities. Kate Nelson published a recent story on the budding actress for Teen Vogue on 1/18/14. 

Alaqua talks about how she never saw herself represented on the screen as a child. “I’m excited for audiences – kids especially – to see people like me with different disabilities or diversities on TV so that they understand they are beautiful just the way they are,” she told Teen Vogue. 

Alaqua grew up on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin and had no plans to become an actress. When her friends sent her a very specific casting call in 2020, she decided to audition and ended up landing her breakout role.  

“I figured [Marvel] probably didn’t want an amputee woman because you [rarely] see amputees on TV,” she commented. “But I’m so happy that the amputee community can now say that we have an amputee superhero. I want them to know that their dreams should not have limitations and that they don’t have to ‘fix’ themselves.” Although Maya did not originally have an amputation, Marvel studio execs rewrote the character to have a prosthetic leg like Alaqua. 

Great attention was paid to accommodate Alaqua on set and ensure the Choctaw nation was portrayed accurately on screen. Depicted as the powerful lead in this series, Alaqua is showing the deaf, Indigenous, and disability communities that they too can be in the entertainment industry just as they are. 

“It’s so important to have authentic representation because I grew up seeing the same kind of people on TV, and now it’s beautiful to see all these different skin colors and disabilities,” she said in the article. “In the coming years, I want to see roles with disabilities played by people with disabilities. I’m also hoping that people on other sets ask cast members what they can do to improve and make them more comfortable, like they did for me. It feels like we are going in the right direction, and I’m hoping that becomes the gold standard.” 

Echo is now streaming on Disney+ and Hulu.