Sean McElwee was a star on the TV show, Born This Way, which chronicled the lives of seven young adults with Down Syndrome. Since starring on the show, he has opened his own business, Seanese, where he sells t-shirts with designs that celebrate disability inclusion. Enjoy the interview with Sean below:
Tell us about yourself and a few fun facts about yourself!
“I’m 27, I live in my own apartment with a roommate, I’m a keynote speaker, I have a girlfriend. I was on the TV show Born this Way and we won 4 Emmys. I have my own business. I design t-shirts and sell them on my website www.seanese.com And I have my own YouTube Show The Sean Show.”
How did you get the nickname/business name Seanese?
“When I was little nobody could understand my words so my mom and dad told people I spoke “Seanese” like Chinese, Japanese, Seanese…it’s my own language and I put my words on t-shirts.”
How did the opportunity to be on Born This Way come about? Tell us a little bit about your experience on the show!
“I loved being on Born this Way. It was the best ever. I’m in an acting class at my Down syndrome Association and the casting people came there and I auditioned and got the part. My mom didn’t think I would get it because I kept telling them I’m a ladies man but that’s why I got it. She was wrong.”
What were your favorite parts of being part of Born This Way and what were some things that you learned about yourself through the experience?
“I loved it because I didn’t have to memorize lines and just had to be myself. I learned that I love my friends so much. I learned how to be a self-advocate. I learned so much.”
What is your mission with the Seanese brand? What is the main message that you hope people get from your brand?
“I want parents to know their kids are awesome and they can do anything. I donate baby onesies to Down Syndrome Associations for new parent gifts and I include a letter to the new parents telling them to never give up on their Dreams for their babies.”
Your shirts have some of the greatest phrases and designs that I have seen!! What is the process of creating these like?
“It’s like…I say it. Then I think “that would go great on a shirt” then my mom asks me how it should look and she tells my graphic artist and he makes it happen. Then I tell him if I like it or if he needs to change it.”
What are the main things that you want everyone to know about Down Syndrome?
“Down syndrome is a disability but if people with Down syndrome get the love and support they need then they can do anything they want to. I’m living my dreams.”