Teen actress with Down syndrome makes big screen debut in ‘Hunger Games’

A teen with Down syndrome who was recognized seven years ago for the inspirational message she shared in a viral video is serving as inspiration again, as she making his big-screen debut.

Sofia Sanchez, age 14, is a freshman in high school. But unlike most ninth graders, he’s also authored two books and has a role in the upcoming movie, “Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” Sofia, who was adopted as a baby from Ukraine and also has a sibling with Down syndrome, has worked for years to raise awareness and fight for inclusion in the Down syndrome community. Her children’s books are titled, “You are Enough” and “You are Loved.”

In a video that went viral on social media in 2017, Sofia’s mother Jennifer Varanini Sanchez asked her daughter, “Does your blood have Down syndrome?”

“Yeah,” Sofia answered. “Does that make your blood special?” “Yes!” “Is Down syndrome scary?,” Jennifer asked. “No, it’s not scary,” Sofia answered.

“He’s a great representative and I always say he speaks for the voiceless,” said his mother, Jennifer. “So it’s a pretty cool place to be in now. It kind of fell into our laps with that viral video that went so wild.”

Sofia is currently on a world tour promoting the new “Hunger Games” movie, in which she plays the character of Wovey. “He’s from District 8 and his superpower is hiding, but he’s also brave, like me,” he said Internal Edition.

“Very good. It’s my dream come true, seeing my best time, seeing myself on the big screen,” she added.

Jennifer said she was proud of the way Sofia worked for inclusion for those with Down syndrome.

“Obviously I’m as proud as her mother. But I’m also just excited for the Down syndrome community and the awareness he brings, and just the inspiration he’s given to other families,” she said. “He’s a great advocate, he’s a great representative, and I always say he speaks for the voiceless.”

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