Born deaf. Initially went to oral schools, then discovered French Sign Language at age 7, and shortly afterwards, discovered her deaf identity on a visit to Gallaudet College in the U.S. Acting in school plays as an adolescent led to professional acting on the French stage, including the starring role in the French version of Children of a Lesser God. Also appeared in several French films, becoming well-known in that country. Co-starred in the Oscar-nominated German film Jenseits der Stille (Beyond Silence), learning German Sign Language for the role. 1994 autobiography is Le Cri de la Mouette, translated into English as The Cry of the Gull (1998).