Actress shows the ‘lighter side’ of disability - with chocolate

samantha renke
samantha renke

An actress is showing ‘the lighter side’ of disability by appearing in a major TV advert campaign during the Paralympics.

Sam Renke, from Leyland, has brittle bone disease and is reflecting the more ‘comical side’ to being in a wheelchair in the advert campaign for Maltesers.

The 30-year-old was filmed telling a story with work colleagues about how she accidentally ran over the bride’s foot at a wedding party – crushing a Malteser as a demonstration of what happened.

But she then says it ‘wasn’t all bad’ because she managed to leave with the best man’s number.

Sam, who now lives in London, says her social media has ‘gone absolutely crazy’ since her advert aired during the Paralympic opening ceremony.

She said: “I have had a really great response from people.

“A lot of people with my condition have also been sharing it across the world because they are happy with it.

“I’m glad everybody enjoyed it - and I actually thought it was quite funny.”

And despite being in a number of independent movies and picking up the Best Lead Actress gong at the 2014 Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival, Sam says starring in the TV ad is a big deal for her career.

“This opportunity was amazing,” she said.

“This is on a different level to things I have done before because Maltesers is a brand that everyone knows and everybody enjoys it.

“I was over the moon when they got back in touch and so were all my friends.

“It was a great chance for me to showcase my talent and get my comedy skills out there too.

“I think comedy reflects my personality because I am naturally quite a chirpy person.”

The advert is part of a series of ads by Mars, which won £1 million of free advertising from Channel 4 as part of a competition to make ads championing diversity and disability during the Paralympics.

There are three adverts in the series, featuring four different disabled actors telling stories about things that have happened to them.

Sam was pleased to get the role in the advert, which was filmed in August, as it also helped to raise awareness for people with disabilities, including her own.

Brittle bone disease is a congenital bone disorder characterized by brittle bones that are prone to fracture. It may also lead to shorter height, neurological features including communicating hydrocephalus, basilar invagination, and seizures, blue sclerae, hearing loss, or other complications.

“There is not enough people on TV with a disability,” said Sam. “Even now, we have got the Paralympics, which is amazing, but it only happens once every four years.

“So I would love to see more people with disabilities on the screen.”

Picture - samantha renke 2