When Marsai Martin first noticed an issue with her eyesight, she acted fast.
“During elementary school, I had zero clue why I had blurry vision and what was going on. I started getting headaches and I felt dizzy and it got way worse from there,” she revealed to AOL. “I was scared. I thought I was going to go blind if I don’t ask someone what’s going on or show them what’s happening to my eyes.”
“I went to my parents, and they put me with the right eye doctor and I got the right eye exam. Now I get them annually,” she continued.
Although Martin is a history-making Hollywood producer and stars in ABC’s hit TV show ‘Blackish,’ she hasn’t always felt the most confident while wearing glasses. “[At first,] I thought [wearing glasses] was so embarrassing. I was the only person who had glasses in my class. I felt like my own identity was changed when I first got them — like people looked at me in a different way,” she told Tigerbeat.
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Over time, however, Martin gained the confidence to rock her glasses with her pride. Being a role model to other children and teenagers, especially those of color, who never saw anyone that looked like them rocking glasses on television was Martin’s biggest motivation. Now, she embraces her glasses and even has odes to them in her business.
“The logos that I have for my production company actually has glasses to inspire young girls and boys to confidently rock their glasses,” she explained proudly.
Recently, Martin partnered with Essilor of America, an eyewear company, to promote the importance of booking an eye exam. Together with the brand, Martin is calling on all parents to get their children’s eyesight tested. According to statistics, nearly half of parents with children under the age of six have never taken their child to the eye doctor — but Marsai is hoping to change that by 2020.
Not only is Martin partnering with Essilor to encourage parents to take the 20/20 Vision Pledge, but she is also promoting the pledge to help participants win the chance to receive free glasses for their entire school. There’s no purchase necessary, and the sweepstakes is open to legal residents of 48 U.S. states, including Washington D.C. All you have to do is be 18 or older to enter between August 6 and September 25.
Through this pledge, Martin hopes children and parents alike will realize it’s actually cool to rock glasses. And while she’s still learning to embrace her role as a positive icon for others to look up to, she knows how important it is to be that visual representation in Hollywood. “This is different [and] new, but now that I’m one of the first people that kids can see actually wearing glasses, that helps me a lot and pushes me to move forward,” says Martin.
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