Saturday, June 12, 2010

Amy Roloff in Iowa at the Lakes Health Conference

There are a few reports regarding Amy's appearance at the Lakes Health Conference in Iowa.

This article is more about Amy talking about the show.

She tells the people she meets about her condition anyway -- if for no other reason than to help with the terminology.

"I'm a little person with dwarfism -- because when you say 'little person' that doesn't really give the connotation as to: What exactly does that mean? I face my own challenges and my own obstacles," she says. "The one thing that I really want to communicate to people is that we all have challenges. We all have obstacles. Mine is obviously more prevalent because people can see it -- it's a physical disability. But, I think the biggest thing to overcome is your own personal attitude and perception of yourself."

"I think a lot of people are trying to meet some goal or some guideline on who they should be and how they should act," Roloff said. "I spent way too much time worrying about what other people think. I think I missed out on a lot of opportunities. The old saying is very true: 'The older you get, the wiser you are' hopefully. If I could know what I know now and go back in time, my life would be completely different."

Roloff "was really pretty much against it," at first.

"I've got kids and it's hard enough to go out there and be the best you can be and put on this persona," she said. "Now, they're into your house -- where else do you go to hang out, let loose, wear sweatpants and no makeup?"

Roloff now sees the show as an opportunity to educate people -- not only about dwarfism, but about disabilities in general.

"We just come in a different package," Roloff said. "We have more challenges and obstacles than other people do, but I often tell people this is the only life I know. I adapt the best I can and overcome certain things I overcome, because, if not, I'll be standing still and not living life."

The "life" viewers see when they tune in is a fairly accurate account. The family's ups and downs are not airbrushed or dramatized for the most part. The only time TV factors into the otherwise normal aspects of a day is when the family goes on a trip. The logistics of a camera crew following the family to hotels and other venues takes a bit of preparation.

"I'd say, overall the show is as real as it gets," Roloff said. "There are no scripted parts. They're just there filming."

She also made a point of trying to be herself whether the cameras were on or not. "I didn't want to go out in public afterward and have two different faces," she explains. It has also helped that the show has maintained the same producer and core team of cameramen and sound crews. Her home is her personal space, she says and a lot of changes would make the filming "more like business."

Roloff also made a point to tell her children their job is school -- TV conforms to their lives, she tells them, their lives don't conform to the TV show. The family still has to go back to their community, family and friends once the camera goes away.

"I think that's one of the reasons why the show works," Roloff said. "It's pretty real. It's pretty much just about our life. I'm grateful for the parents who have allowed their kids to be on TV because if that didn't happen, I don't know if we'd be on as long. It's important for my kids to have that regular, normal life, like any other kids."

Roloff knows the family lives in a reality show world where "Jon & Kate Plus 8" is now just "Kate Plus 8."

"I always contend there are problems to begin with even before TV even comes in there," Roloff said. "I think TV just brings them out more. It's like the door is open a little more. I think that's an added stress and frustration into whatever is happening in the family dynamic. Matt and I even have ups and downs. Part of that is just the season of life we're in, too. I would never say TV caused anything that's happening in my family or if it ever did."

Her speaking engagement Friday was a collaboration between Iowa Lakes Community College and Northwest Iowa Community College. She hopes the conference attendees leave with a better understanding of disabilities -- and a better outlook.

"Life does suck sometimes," she said. "That's OK as long as you don't stay in that attitude. Give yourself that break -- that 'yeah this is a hard day and I don't like what's happening to me.' OK, give yourself pity for a day or two.

"Then get out of it. Continue on, the adventure is still happening."

You can read the full article here:

This article is more about Amy's speech at the conference:

Roloff Inspires

By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer

Roloff vividly recalled in first grade when she refused to go to school. It was also the first day her mother was starting a new job. Her father came home from work and said something to her that has remained with her ever since.

"God doesn't make mistakes but there's a reason and a purpose that you're here," her father said.

"It keeps me focused," Roloff said of that message from her father. "It keeps me reminded."

She continues to tell her son Zach the same thing plus another message: "If you want to do something, go for it."

"Everyone has challenges. Everyone has obstacles they need to overcome," Roloff said. "It took me a while to understand that life is a beach. I love the journey. I love the adventure.

Listening to Amy Roloff for an hour and a half is like looking through a window into your own soul.

Roloff, whose family stars in the reality show "Little People Big World" on The Learning Channel, offered a very inspirational message to attendees at the Lakes Health Conference Friday in the Arrowwood Resort in Okoboji. For six seasons, viewers have seen the ups - and downs - of a family that lives a very normal life despite fact that Roloff and her husband and one of their children have dwarfishm.

"You could look at it as a burden or you could look at it as an opportunity," Roloff said, echoing that refrain throughout her remarks.

It's a message from which we all could learn.

While Roloff and her husband Matt and son Zach have successfully dealt with dwarfism, how many of us suffer from another smallness that may be even more difficult from which to extricate ourselves.

We're talking about a smallness of ideas - of prejudice, of judging others without getting to know them first, of lack of imagination. That's a smallness that in many ways is even more difficult to overcome than physical.

Roloff and her family met the challenge and beat it. However, those of us who really don't have an excuse seem to be unable to overcome that smallness of mind which is even more limiting.

For some reason, we need someone with a disability and who overcomes it to inspire us. But Roloff addressed that too.

"God doesn't make mistakes but there's a reason and a purpose that you're here," Roloff recalled her father as saying.


Greg said...

More of the classic Roloff flip-flopping.

I swear I just saw Amy interviewed by Joy Behar and in another article doing a Matt Roloff, talking about how fans are so dumb for believing a season that was dedicated to portraying problems in their marriage and how people have no right to assume they know anything about the Roloffs because it's all an edited show.

Here she is all about "It's as real as it gets!"

Gosh, it's really irritating how the Roloffs play both sides of the fence.

Cindy said...

Amy has a tremendous message. I'm just not sure that she is always the best example of the message she promotes (how she reacts to other people's "differences" and how she has raised her kids - Zach and Jer) but the author is bang on, what she is a wonderful message and advice.

Laura said...


Honestly, I don't understand why it is so hard for you and others to figure out what Matt and Amy mean.

The Roloffs are real. They don't have a script telling them to do X and Y. However, what they are saying is that it is pieced together by editors who create a story and they piece it together to give it the most drama possible because that makes it more interesting to watch.

What about that don't you understand?

Rap541 said...

Actually per Matt they have storyline cheat sheets and are supposed to stop and get the camera crew when something relevant to the storyline is occuring.

"This is simply to remind us that if these particular subjects come up... Be sure to let the crews know."

Now.., are they given lines? Officially no - although the "gift of the soccer ball" is one example of a reannactment (not reality) being filmed, and there have been others. Off hand, I recall thinkng it was VERY obvious that Zach was delivering producer prompted questions to Matt whn they were visiting Matt's old high school.

There are also examples of real life incidents that we know occured that never made the show - the Jeremy makes the national enqiuerer incident occured during filming. It was real and raw and never once was mentioned.

If the Roloffs aren't haveing marital difficulties, why are they allowing themselves to be edited into a lie? Don't get me wrong - I am utterly certain that the Roloffs are very carefully edited and that the show is far from an accurate portrayal.

The problem is that the Roloffs consistently tell two stories. The show is accurate and real, and the show is highly edited and not an accurate depiction of how the Roloff family really is.

Both can't be true.

Laura said...

That's not a discrepancy. It's not scripted and they are not being told what to do.

Jeremy did present the soccer ball to Zach. However Matt explained that the crew was not filming when the two boys saw each other again. When the crew was back, they asked them to do it again. That's not the same as being scripted. Jeremy did present the ball to Zach.

Asking them to make sure the camera is there when they discuss certain matters is again not scripting. They aren't telling them what to do or how to react. It's the logistics that go into filming.

Matt doesn't say the show is "accurate". He says the show is real, but consists of talented editors that use the film to create a story.

I don't think you comprehend what "real" means.

Rap541 said...

I don't think you comprehend what real means either. :)

Just because "Matt explained" that the soccer ball scene was redone... that does not mean what we saw was "real". The very fact that the boys did it again *for the camera* means we did not see a real and raw, no holds barred moment of the Roloffs life.

Don't get me wrong - that doesn't mean that Jeremy never gave the soccer ball to Zach, it means that the scene presented was a reenactment of the moment.

The fact that "talented editors use the film to create a story" means we're not seeing an accurate depiction of the Roloffs.

Oh, and that multiple Roloffs cheerfully snit how dumb the fans are to believe the show is an accurate depiction of their lives ALSO indicates that they are not depicting themselves real, raw, the good, the bad and the ugly and really shouldn't be getting credit for it.

Greg said...

Rap, don't forget about the LPGA story either.

You know the one that wasn't written by a "journalist" who got all chummy with the Roloffs. The one that was written by a reporter who was covering the LPGA event when it was held at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Course in Helvetia and Amy happened to be there filming for in prep for her tournament?

The reporter said Amy came walking through the press room with someone from the LPGA event explaining everything to her. Then they turned around and went back out. Only to walk back in with the camera filming PRETENDING like it was the first time.

That's not a real and raw reaction.

The other thing that has become clear is the producer factor. How many times do we have to read about Matt and Amy and Jeremy and Zach talking about how much they love their producers before people start to question if those producers would ever allow a "real and raw" reaction of one of the Roloffs (whom they love as family) to see the light of day. That's not "real and raw" like Amy and Matt like to try and get credit for.

You can see how Amy changes her position on real vs heavily edited and not accurate depending on the tone of the interview. If it's about criticism that makes her uncomfortable, then the show is edited crap and people can't judge because they don't know anything about the real Roloffs.

But if it's some clueless media person asking about reality tv with a hint of skepticism "C'mon now, how real is this reality show?" That's when Amy trots out the "real and raw" line.