At a time of deep uncertainty, when seemingly endless news alerts warn of more COVID cases, lockdowns and hardship, Mikey Webb has become a familiar face across Australia.
The Auslan interpreter has fronted hundreds of press conferences with Queensland authorities since the coronavirus pandemic changed everyone's lives in 2020.
The eldest of two brothers from Adelaide, Mikey grew up with deaf parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.
He described a happy childhood immersed in both sign language and English.
"I'm very blessed to have had the life I had … Mum and Dad both being so prominent in the community, I've got such a big extended family of deaf community members," he said.
"Growing up with Auslan was just the way of life in my world."
His path to becoming an interpreter began when he went to a World Federation of the Deaf congress in Brisbane in 1999.
"And that was the first time that I went 'this interpreting thing is amazing'," Mikey said.
'My life is so much richer for it'
Such visibility means he's recognised in public by both people who can hear and those who are deaf.
"People come up and you sort of get the sideways glance," Mikey said.
He's fine with the attention if it raises awareness about the need for information to be conveyed in Auslan.
"The hearing community are now starting to go, 'well hang on, there are access needs out there'," he said. "If you're not there [at a media conference] they're asking 'why?', which I think is amazing.
"Because that's the most important thing — the deaf community are getting the access to information like everybody else."
From rock 'n' roll to Covid
It was part of his work with Auslan Stage Left, a group which provides interpreters so deaf people can have access to theatre and the arts.
"That stuff is amazing. I love doing that sort of stuff. It's who I am, I'm very flamboyant in that regard," he said. "Watching deaf people come to a concert — something that they've never really had access to before — and going along with their families, their friends, their neighbours, their community and they're enjoying the spectacle that's being put on with everybody else, that's what gets me going."Mikey described Auslan as a "3D spatial language."
"The facial expressions come in as tone and seriousness or joviality, whatever it might be, so there's that whole stuff going on," he said.