Our Athletes

Caley Versfelt Breaks Barriers in Hollywood

On Monday night, the world will know precisely what Caley Versfelt can do. The Special Olympics Southern California athlete will be a guest star on ABC's The Good Doctor, an opportunity she has worked so hard for.

After many long hours on set, over three days of production and after memorizing her lines, she was living the Hollywood dream and doing it with a great group of people.

"Everyone was friendly and helpful," Versfelt says with a spark in her voice. "They were very supportive of me and good at directing me."

Near the end of Versfelt's time on set, the cast and crew surprised her with her very own director's chair, with her name laminated on it. It sits proudly in her room as a reminder that no dream is too big, even if it seems unlikely.

Caley Versfelt sits a director’s style chair with her name on it of The Good Doctor with a smile on her face.
Caley Versfelt on the set of The Good Doctor.

"I didn't know anything about acting until my mom put me in local theater in high school and I fell in love with it," Versfelt says about her beginnings. "I like learning new things. Through acting, it's fun to tell stories."

Since then, she has appeared in short films, TV shows and music videos.

"I'm on a TV series called Needs to Bake and have been in several short films," Versfelt says. "I was on the Emmy Award-winning show, Born This Way. Most recently, I was in Joey Travolta's, Let's Work documentary.

"I have been in several music videos," she continues. "You might be familiar with Armor by Sara Bareilles and Unbroken by Bret Michaels."

Versfelt was also a correspondent at the Media Access Awards--the only award show celebrating the success, of people with disabilities, in the entertainment industry.

"I was proud to co-host the Media Access Awards, on live TV, with Brian Johnson from K-Nect TV," she says about that experience.

"People with disabilities make up 20% of the population, yet the entertainment industry only hires 3% of them. But it is getting better. I would encourage the entertainment industry to continue on the path of hiring more people with authentic representation."
Caley Versfelt, Actress, The Good Doctor

When asked, she's quick to say The Good Doctor is her favorite role to date, but her connection to the entertainment industry doesn't end when the camera stops rolling.

Versfelt works at Entertainment Industry Foundation as the front desk receptionist, where she handles the checks, manages the mail and so much more. She loves it.

As if she isn't busy enough, she is a strong advocate for Best Buddies, serving as a Global Ambassador for Best Buddies International and on their Los Angeles Advisory Board. During the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, she was a Games Associate, a Correspondent on the Blue Carpet at the Opening Ceremony and throughout the Games. She also regularly speaks at Special Olympics events, served on the Los Angeles’ Special Olympics Board of Directors and is a Global Messenger.

"I'm lucky my mom is good at helping me with my schedule," Versfelt says with a little laughter in her voice.

But her mom, Shail, says none of this would have been possible without Special Olympics. It's what helped her break out of her shell and find her voice. For that, she is thankful but reminds herself that she still must work hard.

"I don't succeed every time, but it doesn't stop me from going after my goals," Versfelt says as she finishes telling her story. "I believe each 'No' brings me closer to the next 'Yes.' After all, it's your dreams."

The Good Doctor episode 410 airs Monday night on ABC at 10 p.m.

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