Meet Jessie Davies: the TikToker building self-confidence through her stammer
The content creator and MUA spreads awareness of living with a speech impediment through her uplifting, IRL challenges
words Hannah Bertolino
According to 29-year-old Welsh TikToker, MUA, and cosmetics brand owner Jessie Davies, growing up with a stammer – a speech impediment often characterised by lots of pauses or repeated words – felt like “trying to cook the perfect egg every day; a constant battle”. She tells Woo: “I was so focused on my speech (that) I wasn’t looking at the bigger picture, the other tools I had from having a stammer.”
In 2021, Davies – known online by her username @mimidarlingbeauty – launched her TikTok account to promote her make-up brand with energetic beauty tutorials and product swatches. However, since posting a video challenging herself to order at a drive-thru (one of the places she had previously always avoided due to her stammer) and opening up about her speech, she’s amassed over 2.9 million followers, who keep coming back for her uplifting, confidence-boosting content.
She uses her account to help gain control over her own life and combat the anxiety which induces her stammer. Davies documents everyday challenges suggested by friends and users in the comments to get out of her comfort zone – from rapping her coffee order like Nicki Minaj at the drive-thru to approaching strangers to hand out free beauty products, public speaking as a hype girl in Liverpool, and performing random acts of kindness in town.
While some challenges are more effective than others in reducing her stammer, Davies shares that her favourite videos have been those which allow her to connect with others. In particular, on International Women’s Day, Davies handed out flowers to a woman who explained that she was having a bad day and “needed this”.
“It (makes) you realise (that) we’re all struggling with something… all of us,” says Davies. “Kindness can bring strangers together, and that probably made her day.”
Meanwhile, beyond challenges and beauty content, Davies has used her platform to educate followers on speech impediments and spread awareness of the realities of living with a stammer – explaining how it feels when you stammer, debunking myths about speech impediments, and responding to bullies in the comments who thought she was “faking it”.
Through any backlash, however, the content creator notes that the overwhelming positive responses she receives has made it worth it. "When I posted my first-ever speaking challenge, I was expecting a lot of negativity, but it was the complete opposite – it was a crazy amount of support," Davies told the BBC last year.
"The comments just kept coming in and just telling me to keep going, that it is helping so many people and inspiring others who also have a speech impediment, but also that it has helped a lot of parents to understand their child who is also stuttering. To think other people are now looking up to me and feeling inspired to chase their dreams and live life with no regrets is amazing.”
According to Davies, the most emotional messages received have come from “fellow stammers” who explain that her videos are helping them to finally accept who they are, love their stammer, and challenge it. “They no longer feel alone and relate,” she says. “People with all kinds of struggles are now challenging themselves and tagging me. A young girl who self harms and is in supported living sent me a video of her at Costa on her own without staff.”
She adds: “You don’t realise the power of a non-fluent voice.”
As for the future, Davies hopes to expand the scale of her challenges – from speaking at arenas to interviewing celebrities and becoming the “first boss babe with a stammer to be successful in the beauty industry”.
“(I want) to inspire the next generation who struggle with anxiety, depression, (or) speech impediments that you can be anything you want to be,” she says. “Despite the limitations society puts on you, you’re the director of your own life. It’s no fairytale, but it’s gonna be a good story to tell.”