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ASF Vision | Anthony Ferraro & Kelly Walborn | Interview


As with many of the people in my life that inspire me, I met my dear friend Kelly through the cannabis industry. We’ve known each other since cannabis was legalized in Colorado… I was starting Puff, Pass & Paint, and she was working in cannabis tech, and through the years of living together in Denver, then the Bay Area, and then visiting her on work trips in Brooklyn after she moved back to the East coast, we developed a long friendship that spanned even more miles. We never had to keep in constant contact to know that the other cared, and our relationship has always been based on unconditional love for one another, and a mutual desire to see the other person thrive.


I know Anthony through Kelly. I remember the first time I heard her talk about going on a date with Anthony, a Paralympic Judo competitor who has been blind since birth, but surfs, skates, bikes, cooks, makes art, and plays guitar better than most people with full sight (definitely better than me). He also has a full-length documentary made about his high school wrestling career. In my mind before I met him, he seemed like such an intimidating figure, someone inapproachable… to have achieved so much when you’ve been handed a bit of a curveball from the beginning. I wasn’t expecting him to be as sweet, open, and hilarious as he is… and those are amazing qualities for someone that is now engaged to one of your best friends. I believe it’s also one of the reasons his motivational speaking business has blown up, with millions of views on social media platforms, and offers to travel around the world to speak about his journey. With the help of Kelly, Anthony makes videos that show what it’s like to be a blind person doing “normal person things”, like brushing your teeth, or pouring a glass of juice, or making breakfast… and also insanely amazing things, like skateboarding in a half pipe without being able to see where you’re going (spoiler alert… he’s such a great skateboarder that the haters accused him of “pretending to be blind”, and they had to film another video with him fully blindfolded to prove them wrong).

ASF Vision

I wanted to do this interview with Anthony and Kelly to show what they’re working on, and also because they’re both incredibly inspirational to me… Anthony because he’s a freaking badass (and also so positive) at everything he does, even though he can’t see… and Kelly, because she’s such an incredible and innovative support system, who has helped him create his empire of inclusivity and dedication in ASF Vision. I’ve seen them grow so much together, and there is nothing that makes me happier for my friends. So, let’s get started:


Anthony, first of all, I know you’re super busy these days with training for the Paralympics (which is currently scheduled to take place August 24-September 15, in Tokyo, Japan). Thank you so much for taking the time to chat! I know you’ve also had a huge amount of press attention recently and offers to make further documentaries on your life, and even a reality show. Can you tell me how you got started creating your business, and how things have changed in the past year or so?

Thank you for having me Heidi. This basically starts with my older brother Oliver, who passed away unexpectedly at the age of 27 in 2015. He left behind the film footage of my career as part of his legacy. He knew before anyone ever did that there was a way to tell my story with film. Oliver always knew (even when I didn’t) that my journey would bring motivation to others, and that people would benefit from hearing certain things from me.


I fell into motivational speaking by accident. I didn’t think my story was worth telling, but so many would come up to me and tell me how it had helped them. At that point, I realized I would be selfish to not help others with my story, and give back and honor my brother’s legacy as well.


Kelly is such a visionary… when we linked up in 2018, she was able to put my ideas into reality, and on paper and the internet. It started with 1 follower, and we didn’t care how many we got. It started with me telling my story… and at times it was really discouraging with thoughts like, is this ever going to work? What platform is going to take? What do we want to do? But we kept going, and we didn’t give up. Once COVID hit and the Paralympics were delayed, Kelly and I brainstormed a way to bring positivity through music and live-streaming it on the internet, which we called Anthony Ferraro’s Blind Busking Livestream Music Tour. That was when I think the start of working really hard and creating an original vision began. When we got back from that tour things started taking off. On March 31, 2021 we made ASFVISION an official LLC, and it feels so crazy.

ASF Vision

Kelly, you’re the tech brain behind a lot of the videos for ASF Vision that show how Anthony does everyday (and not so everyday) things as a blind man. As someone who has been in a relationship with him for years, I’m sure these things come as second nature to you now… how and why did you come up with the idea of sharing his process with the world?

Funny thing, Anthony asked me to be his date to the NYC premier of his film A Shot In The Dark. After the premier, I realized it was obviously a professional film versus some iphone camera movie made about his life. After the film, I started Googling Anthony to find more information on where I could follow him, and there was nothing besides his personal Facebook and an ESPN article about his highschool wrestling career. I was very passionate in telling him that people will 100% want to follow your life after they see this film, to see what you have been up to since… but there is no way for people to find you!


It started with a website landing page in June 2018, and an Instagram page @ASFVISION — from there we started adding links to all socials to his website and directing people to asfvision.com for everything. We had some slow organic growth on all channels over time, but usually were SUPER excited when a post got even 1 like or view. In April 2020, with Pandemic boredom setting in, I tried to convince Anthony to use his White Cane and do TikTok dances. He was like “HECK NO”, and completely denied me for what is now the best denial of my life. Fast forward to the Blind Busking LiveStream Music tour, which we embarked on in November and December 2020. I took out his TikTok page and would record a quick 10 second video with the backdrop saying things like “blind man playing the grand canyon” or “blindness didn’t stop me from learning guitar” — all of those videos would average 300 views, but I didn’t care. I was building a library of content for ASFVISION and I wasn’t distracted by likes or views.

On January 28, 2021, Anthony and I had a business meeting in our kitchen and decided to take things WAY more seriously with building a presence. We filmed an intro video on TikTok saying “Hi I’m Anthony Ferraro, and there’s something different about me… I’m blind but also surf, skate and do judo, etc.” Long story short, we went to bed, and woke up with 30,000 views on that video. We found our channel and started posting everyday and researching the way to have true success.

ASF Vision

Anthony, what are some things you want people to know when they’re watching and sharing your videos? Do you have any insights as to how we, as a community, can be more inclusive?

The biggest message I want to get across is “The Only Disability is a Bad Attitude”. Don’t let stereotypes hold you back from talking or learning about another person, because everyone has a story to tell. Don’t be afraid to be yourselves. The community can be more inclusive by not limiting people or making assumptions on that person if they see a white cane or a wheelchair.


Your videos are informative and interesting, but also hilarious, and you always end them with “one love”. It seems like you guys really enjoy bringing your community into them as well. Can you tell me a little bit about the mindset that goes into making these?

Honestly I am so sick of divide and division and people not getting along, and “one love” means that. If we can model that life, I think it’s what we all need right now. It was hilariously an accident… in that first introductory video, I said it at the end and gave a peace sign, and SO many comments were like “one love” so it just became a thing.


The mindset behind the videos is full blown team collaboration. Kelly sometimes has the idea and we talk it out, and sometimes I have it and help her see my vision so she can put it in film. It’s frustrating at times, but also extremely rewarding when we work through hurdles and send an awesome video out to the world. The videos are a legacy for both of us.

ASF Vision

Kelly, what is the most impressive thing about Anthony, and why do you work so well together?

From our very first date, Anthony went on and on during the Q and A about how he trained for 5 hours to learn how to roll his R’s for spanish class. I vividly remember thinking to myself “wow, this guy is so determined to learn anything, he will put the time required to make a real change”. To me his drive and courage is the most impressive thing. We are engaged now, and I know as he has through every phase to date, he will thrive in this next chapter of our lives. He tells me from time to time with the most sincere look in his eyes that everything will be OK, and he will always be there to provide for our family. Heart melt, honestly I love this man and can’t wait to be his wife.


Anthony, same question about Kelly?

It’s funny because I just heard Kelly’s answer, and I want to say the same about her: determination and drive. She can take my thoughts and work so hard to make them a reality. When we are a team we can do anything. One of my favorite things about Kelly is that she helps me see the world in a way I have never gotten to see it. She slows down and looks at the beauty in nature and sunsets, and describes all the colors to me, and helps me experience the visual world in a whole other way.

ASF Vision

How can people find you, watch your videos, and continue to support you?

The best way to find everything we have worked on to date is my website: http://www.asfvision.com.

All of my social handles are @asfvision.

Tiktok is a fun way to see everything the day I make it. I also post everything I make on TikTok, and eventually on my Instagram as Reels and Stories, so you can follow there. My music lives on my YouTube, and any support by subscribing there goes a long way.

The best way you can support me is by renting or buying my film on Amazon Prime and Vimeo called “A Shot In The Dark” — You can find it linked on my website as well.

Also, if you’re interested in sending any amount (even $1) to my Venmo, all my funds go to support my self funded Paralympic Road to Tokyo (@asfvision).


Lastly, anything else I missed that you want to include?

Kelly and Anthony were engaged on May 30, 2020 on the Washington Ave Beach in Spring Lake, New Jersey and are planning to get married on October 2, 2021 in Wells, Maine. Kelly also has her own social pages and blog where she posts healthy cooking recipes, and lots of writing recaps from their adventures… You can find her at turmericteatime.com and @turmericteatime on Instagram and TikTok. Anthony and Kelly got a puppy named Miss Delta Blues on February 21, 2021. Her instagram is @misssdeltablues (3 S’s).

Thank you to everyone for reading this piece. One love <3

 

The Cannabis Cactus Magazine has more great interviews.

 


Heidi Keyes

Heidi Keyes is the Founder of Puff, Pass & Paint, and Co-Founder & President of Cannabis Tours. Heidi writes about her experiences, sharing her advice, travel tips, and wisdom in Puff, Pass Ponder.

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