Jessie Davies (@mimidarlingbeauty) is a social media star with almost 3 million TikTok followers. Her account reached dizzying heights when the cosmetics brand owner and make-up artist decided to push back against her fear of speaking and visited a Starbucks drive-through for the very first time.
Jessie has a stammer (sometimes known as a stutter) – a speech disorder which makes it incredibly difficult to communicate fluently, and which can often contribute heavily to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. It can also result in crippling fear of speaking for fear of being corrected, insulted or assumed to be less intelligent.
Taking to TikTok in an effort to push through the fear and anxiety, Jessie is now truly a social media celebrity with a legion of dedicated followers. Her videos regularly reach millions of viewers, though one video, in particular, has been viewed over 67 million times – more than 20 times the total population of her home country, Wales!
At CEL Solicitors, we’re no stranger to special guests. Already this year we’ve had visits from Doulas, Jemma and Anne-Marie, and trainee solicitor Akil Hunte speaking, respectively, on pregnancy throughout history, and having a champion mindset.
These special guest events are held to give a fresh perspective and understanding of important topics, helping to inspire staff, bolster morale and, hopefully, result in a greater sense of belonging at work.
Some guests are invited to speak in front of all members of staff for one of our many Friday Talks. Others have more specific experiences and may be booked to speak at one of our Female Empowerment Talks. Jessie was invited for the latter.
According to CEL Solicitors owner and director Jessica Hampson, “I hold these sessions because as a female owner it’s important to me to empower the other women employed here, ensuring there is no glass ceiling and that the workspace we create is a safe place where we can openly discuss women’s issues.
“These issues run from triumphs and challenges like having children and periods, why women are paid less, the struggles we all share, from body image to the positive and negative impact of social media.”
Jessie opened her talk with an explanation of her background, her struggles throughout childhood and adulthood with her stammer, and the roadblocks it had previously thrown in front of her.
Finding herself at rock bottom, she made the decision to no longer let her speech impediment impede her life and took one of the most intimidating and frightening actions she could do – filming herself going through a Starbucks drive-through and releasing it for the whole world to see.
Jessie’s journey quickly became an internet phenomenon with fans across the globe identifying with her relatable and inspiring content. While she was initially reluctant even to speak with service workers in shops and cafés, her more recent “challenges” have seen her touring the country and speaking with fans on the streets, asking strangers for help and even offering her cosmetic products to people she has never met before!
In a similar vein to Jessica Hampson’s belief in providing access to role models and educators for staff, Jessie touched on her difficulty growing up in a society that still has a long way to go to understanding and accepting those with speech impediments. Growing up there were few she could relate to, though Pop Idol’s Gareth Gates did warrant a special mention due to his openness in talking about his stammer, his work supporting others, and his ambassadorship for the international speech therapy initiative, the McGuire Programme.
Speaking openly about her future plans, Jessie admitted that she has been building her confidence up for some incredibly intimidating “challenges” she previously believed would be impossible. These include her upcoming wedding (before the start of her journey, vows and speeches were strictly off the table), and her hope to one day have her own pop-up shop where she can sell her cosmetic products and speak with her clients face-to-face.
CEL staff have been abuzz with inspiration and positivity since Jessie’s visit, with many highlighting the indelible effect that her talk had on them personally.
Jessica Hampson: “It’s inspiring to have powerful and inspirational women to come in and talk openly and honestly with us all about their journeys and obstacles. It creates a source of conversation for subjects you may normally not understand or avoid, and makes you feel like you are not alone.”
Sophie Rowland: “I think it’s amazing that somebody can push themselves out of their comfort zone so much and have such a positive impact on the lives of so many people. Jessie really is an inspiration and I think I will forever be in awe of the things she is able to do for people.”
Elle Yates: “I think Jessie is a role model who inspired a lot of us at CEL to step outside of our comfort zone and to push ourselves. She showed just how much can be achieved by doing the things that scare us. I had the pleasure of speaking with her and she was so lovely and kind, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to listen to her story.”
Jasmine Stuart: “Listening to how Jessie overcame her fears by pushing her comfort zone was so inspiring. It was amazing to see how one small act can lead to such incredible things and it was a reminder that we should always be pushing our own boundaries in order to grow.”