Alaqua Cox: Amazon Worker-Turned-Lead Marvel Actress

Alaqua Cox: Amazon Worker-Turned-Lead Marvel Actress

Posted By Jeanette Centeno January 3rd, 2022 Last Updated on: January 4th, 2022

Alaqua Cox is a name you should expect to see a lot more of in 2022.

Alaqua Cox is a Native American actress born February 13, 1997, who came to prominence in 2021 for her portrayal of Maya Lopez / Echo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in the Disney+ series “Hawkeye.” Alaqua Cox will also star in her own Hawkeye spin-off series, aptly titled “Echo,” which is currently in production.  

Read on to learn more about Alaqua Cox and her meteoric rise to superstardom. 

Alaqua Cox Early Life

Alaqua Cox Native American actress

There's a reason young Maya Lopez (Echo) looks so familiar in the Disney+ series, “Hawkeye.” She's played by Alaqua Cox's cousin.

Alaqua Cox was born deaf to parents Bill and Elena Cox on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Keshena, Wisconsin. She is part of the Mohican and Menominee nation and has three siblings. She attended the Wisconsin School for the Deaf, where she played basketball and volleyball.

Notably, Alaqua Cox is an amputee with a prosthetic right leg, but she has not publicly revealed how she lost the leg. 

Alaqua Cox's Acting Career 

After Alaqua Cox dropped out of college, she worked several unglamorous jobs. She was actually working in an Amazon distribution center when her friends told her Marvel Studios was casting for the show.

They saw the casting call looking for a Native American actress and female deaf actress,” she told People magazine. “It just matched so perfectly, so I decided to go for it. I had never seen anybody on the screen that maybe looked like me … deaf, an amputee.”

On Dec. 3, 2020, Alaqua Cox was cast as “Echo” in the “Hawkeye” series, her debut acting role.

Native American actress Alaqua Cox

“It's crazy how much my life has already changed because I was a college dropout,” Cox told People magazine. “I worked at a factory.” 

Nevertheless, Alaqua Cox makes history on numerous accounts. For one, she is the first Native American character in the MCU. She's also the first deaf character with a prosthetic limb. And now, she's the first deaf character to get her very own spinoff. 

Though Alaqua Cox had no prior acting experience, save for high school theater production, the young indigenous actress was hand-picked for the role as Echo by Trinh Tran and Kevin Feige. The character, which was created by David W. Mack and Joe Quesada is a strong female whose father, played by Zahn McClarnon, was killed by Hawkeye. Director Rhys Thomas helped Alaqua Cox prepare for the role. 

Echo’s inclusion in the MCU is a huge step forward for indigenous representation. Echo is a member of the Cheyenne Nation and if you're a diehard fan of the comic, you might recall certain aspects of the Cheyenne culture too.

Now, Alaqua Cox is acting alongside Hollywood powerhouses, including McClarnon, Jeremy Renner,  and Hailee Steinfield, to name a few. And she's more than holding her own. Echo was introduced in the third episode of “Hawkeye” and immediately became a fan favorite. It was her athleticism and strong presence that captivated loyal Marvel fans. Disney+ became so enamored with Alaqua, that the company pushed for the “Echo” solo project, which is currently in development. 

In an interview with Disney's D23 magazine, Cox shared stories of how both Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld made efforts to learn American Sign Language so they could more easily communicate with her. “I thought it was sweet of them putting in efforts to learn basic ASL to communicate with me. It means a lot to me as a Deaf person.”

“Echo” Spinoff

In June 2021, Echo co-creator David W. Mack reacted to the news of the “Echo” tv series, expressing gratitude to Cox for representing the deaf and indigenous communities, commenting:, “I taught at the School for the Deaf in Africa, Asia, [and] Europe, in my work for the U.S. State Department, [and] the students love Echo [and] will be happy about this.”

At the “Hawkeye” premiere, Alaqua Cox expressed her thanks to Marvel and Disney+ for allowing her to be a part of the MCU. “It's just so crazy that I'm getting my own show after “Hawkeye.” That was like my first acting role, ever,” Cox told a reporter from Variety. She added, “I don't know why they're giving me this opportunity, but I'm just grateful. I'm excited for the support and being able to advocate for the deaf community. We want to have that equality and get more people involved. I'm just so grateful for all of the opportunities I've been given.” 

Head writer for “Echo,” Marion Dayre, previously worked on “Better Call Saul” which means viewers can expect the show to be laced with dark overtones of human complexity and humor. Alaqua’s character, Echo, will be responsible for issuing a new phase in the Marvel universe known to fans as “phase four” or the rebirth of the new Avengers. 

Echo's introduction to the MCU, will help usher in other key characters that will spice up the storylines such as DareDevil and KingPin (The rumor is, veteran actor Vincent D’Onofrio will reprise his role as KingPin.)

Alaqua Cox's first acting role may prove to be the most challenging, since so many different people, expect so much from this newcomer. Thankfully, she is poised and grounded and most importantly, ready for whatever comes her way. Fans have flocked to social media to embrace her and are quick to add theories regarding the new Disney+ show, “Echo.” (Some fans are even comparing her journey to another Marvel fan-favorite, Loki.) The indigenous actress will be very busy and the new year will surely bring additional projects.

What's next for Alaqua Cox?

Hollywood needs to pay attention to this powerhouse, who has gained the admiration of her castmates and MCU fans alike. And of course, she has the support of the indigenous and deaf communities. We can't wait to see what she does next.

“I'm so excited to show people who I am and what I can do,” she said. “What anybody can do.”

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About Jeanette Centeno

Jeanette Centeno (Taíno) is a nurse with 18 years of experience, ranging from Spinal Cord Injury patients to case management. She is committed to advocating for adequate healthcare and proper intervention for all people. Centeno currently works at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, one of the leading acute care hospitals in treating Spinal Cord Injury.

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Sandra Lea Eddy

I want you to win an Ocsar or Golden Globe. You deserve it. My prayers are with you.


I’m ALSO a member of the Menominee Tribe!!! You GO Alaqua!!!

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