'La Brea' Star Zyra Gorecki on Representing Fellow Amputees in Historic Series Regular Role

"To be a person that other amputees [and] other limb-different people can look up to ... is a completely indescribable feeling," she tells PEOPLE

Zyra Gorecki
Photo: Ben King/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

NBC's newest drama La Brea arrived with a dramatic premiere Tuesday that saw a family separated by a massive sinkhole emerging in Los Angeles, resulting in some residents dropping below the surface into a strange realm. And not only does the series promise a trove of twists and turns, it also serves as an introduction to actress Zyra Gorecki.

Hailing from Michigan, the 19-year-old plays Izzy Harris, a teen whose mom and brother fall through the sinkhole. Like her character, Gorecki is an amputee: She lost her foot in a logging accident when she was 14. (She received her prosthetic from Amputee Blade Runners.)

Gorecki's casting in La Brea makes her one of the first limb-different actors to land a series regular role on television. Asked how she feels about representing her community in such a major way, Gorecki says, "Phenomenal."

"To be a person that other amputees [and] other limb-different people can look up to and say, 'I can do that. I can do this. I can achieve my dreams,' is a completely indescribable feeling," she tells PEOPLE. "When I walked out of the theater after watching Wonder Woman, I looked at my sister and I said, 'I can do anything.' And that's what I want to be to other people."

Zyra Gorecki
Sarah Enticknap/NBC

Gorecki's advice to other actors with limb-difference is to "just go in there and rock it."

"Honestly, nobody cares if you have a fake leg, if you have a fake arm [or] if you look different. Nobody cares. Not really. And if they do, they don't matter," she says. "Go in there, show them what you got. If they don't like it, move on. It wasn't meant to be."

And that's exactly what Gorecki has done. The teen, who got her start in modeling, found out about the La Brea opportunity through a friend and fellow actor at Camp No Limits, which caters to young people impacted by limb loss.

The actress recalls having "terrible anxiety going into all the auditions" but says the process went "very quickly." And when she was offered the part, she was elated.

To portray the character of Izzy as accurately as possible, series creator David Appelbaum would consult with Gorecki on set about how to properly showcase the experience of someone with limb-difference.

"He would talk to me and go, 'Hey, is this what this experience is like?'" Gorecki says. "For him to come to me and actually ask me what being an amputee is like and adding that into the scene made such a difference."

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As for what fans can expect from the new series, Gorecki says there are many more surprises in store.

"I think there's a lot to be surprised by because there are so many different stories," she says. "Everybody, every single person, every single character that you see has a different story, and every single person's story is absolutely fascinating."

La Brea airs Tuesdays (9 p.m. ET) on NBC.

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