Nine Successful People who are Dyslexic Role Models

You never have to wait to raise aspirations for pupils who have dyslexia… You can start today. This article features dyslexic role models who have used their strengths to fly high. It can be used in displays, lessons, newsletters and so on.

You will also find tips on the terminology around dyslexia (in case you worry that you may say the wrong thing and cause upset or anger).

1. Lewis Hamilton, F1 Driver

Lewis Hamilton, who is dyslexic, holds a F1 trophy.

Dyslexia hasn’t stopped Lewis becoming one of the most successful F1 drivers in history.

2 & 3 Kiera Knightley and Orlando Bloom, Actors

Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, who are both dyslexic actors, shown in Pirates of Caribbean film.

Both of these world famous actors have dyslexia. Orlando encourages children to see it as their superpower, whilst Kiera’s love of acting helped to motivate her to read more (as she needed to read scripts).

4. Beatrice, Princess

Princess Beatrice and her husband, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, who are both dyslexic, shown riding in a carriage at a royal event.

Both Princess Beatrice and her husband, Edoardo, are dyslexic. She says talking about dyslexia is her favourite thing. By a princess talking about it, even more people in the UK understand even more about dyslexia.

5. Chris Robshaw, Rugby Player

Chris Robshaw, dyslexic rugby player, whilst playing for England.

Before becoming a rugby player, Chris says that he had to try twice as hard at school because of his reading difficulties. However, the hurdles he faced didn’t stop him from becoming England Captain, as well of captain of his own club.

6. Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Scientist

Maggie Aderin-Pocock, a dyslexic scientist poses wht her Barbie figure, showing that she's a great role model for dyslexic children and young people.

Maggie has been such a successful scientist that Mattel, the toy maker, have made a special barbie figure of her. She’s also been invited to present TV shows to explain space to children and adults. She’s written a book about the moon (writing books is something many people associate with dyslexia). On top of that, she’s also helped to invent new telescopes, detect landmines and shoot down enemy missiles.

Maggie is a great communicator of science and finds interesting ways to explain ideas. For example, she once showed how things travel in space by herding geese around a paddling pool!

All in all, she’s an amazing human being!

7. Peter Kyle, MP

Peter is a Labour MP who was first elected in 2015. He describes himself as extremely dyslexic, but despite this has gone on to do well at university… His full title is Dr Peter Kyle MP – as he gained a PhD.

Peter Kyle, a dyslexic MP, speaks in the House of Commons.

In 2021, despite struggling with reading, Peter was Shadow Minister for Schools. This reminds us that there should be no limits to how high people with dyslexia can climb.

8. Adelle Tracey, Athlete

Whilst she struggled with dyslexia at school, there was no stopping her on the running track.

Adelle Tracy, a dyslexic athlete and role model, celebrates her athletic achievements by holding up the Jamaican flag.

Adelle says that, when reading, she sometimes needs to read things three or four times to understand the text. However, when it comes to the running track, Adelle is one of the fastest women on earth!

9. Tommy Hilfiger, Businessman

And finally, from the US, Tommy Hilfiger struggled with dyslexia at school. He was always a positive person who kept going and never gave up. He designed clothes and ended up with people wearing his clothes on every continent of the world.

Tommy Hilfiger dyslexic entrepreneur, businessman, fashion designer and role model poses next to the Tommy Hilfiger company logo.

Are there any dyslexic professional footballers?

Yes, although not as many as you might expect. Here are four dyslexic footballers who have reached the top flight of the game:

There’s no evidence for claims that former England captain Rio Ferdinand is dyslexic.

Montage of dyslexic professional footballers: Lucy Bronze, Steven Naismith, Rachel Yankey, Kelle Roos.

Words to use when talking about dyslexia & dyslexic role models:

The British Dyslexia Association use the following terms & phrases:

So, if you’re talking about dyslexia (or any dyslexic role models) using these terms, you’re on fairly safe ground. That said, if you are speaking to an individual, it’s normally best to use the terms that they use (and it’s ok to ask what they prefer).

More help for dyslexia & adults

A good source for information about dyslexia is the British Dyslexia Association (BDA). As well education and employment advice, they also cover interesting topics like learning to drive and living with a dyslexic partner. Check them out at www.bdadyslexia.org.uk.

British Dyslexia Association (BDA)  webpage showing advice sections for adults and employers.

More help for dyslexia & children

Image of free Dyslexia week resources (from Twinkl) to support work on dyslexic role models.

Twinkl provide resources if you want to teach children about dyslexia.

They also have a guide for parents on how to support their dyslexic child. Most resources are free – you just need to register. The resources are typically aimed at primary and special schools.

If you are interested in finding out more about Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Twinkl have turned her life into a PowerPoint.

If you are a parent, our guide to SEND terms explains jargon in plain English and is much easier to read that a typical guide. That’s good news for both parents or staff to read – including those who have dyslexia.

Validity of our claims about dyslexic role models

Some online claims about stars being dyslexic are not credible. So, this article has links to sources of the dyslexia claims usings sources that have high editorial standards (mainly reputable news sites). This assures you that this page is as reliable as possible and also free from misinformation (e.g. the dubious claim that Einstein is dyslexic).

Dyslexic Role Models – References

Learn more…

  • Aaron King, Director

    With over 20 years experience of working with children & young people in both mainstream and SEND settings, Aaron King is the driving force behind 9000lives.

    Aaron has written for the TES, including in the Leadership & Governance sections. He has also been a school governor for around 15 years.

  • Aaron King

    Aaron King Director

  • Get in touch

    Have a question? Think we could help you? Please contact us to discuss how we might help you.

    Drop us an email or give us a call


    director@9000lives.org

    0788 42 42 719