Actress Emily Blunt is speaking up on an important topic and what helped her in her own personal struggles in childhood. “The Devil Wears Prada” actress hosted the American Institute for Stuttering’s 2022 Freeing Voices, Changing Lives Gala in New York City on July 11. She is also on the board of directors for the organization.
Keeping an Important Conversation Going on the Disorder
Blunt, 39, said it’s important for her to keep “speaking openly about” the fact that she has a stutter, “a disability people don’t know much about.” She explained that for her personally, acting “was a sort of invitation into speaking fluently for one of the first times,” even if it didn’t stop the stuttering for good. In her speech, she explained that “once you are a stutterer, you will always be a stutterer.”
Blunt said that stuttering isn’t why she got into acting, but it appears that it did help. “I wouldn’t say that’s why I’ve ventured into acting, but it was just a bit shocking the first time I was able to speak, you know, doing a silly voice or an accent pretending to be someone else,” she told People. “People don’t talk about [it] enough if it hasn’t got enough exposure, and millions of people around the world struggle with it.”
Her Childhood Struggle with the Disorder
“I started noticing it at 6 or 7. My grandfather, my uncle and my cousin all stutter. It feels like you’ve got this imposter living in your body,” she told People, in their “Women Changing the World” issue, March 2020. At the age of 12, a teacher noticed that Blunt didn’t stutter when she would do impersonations, so he encouraged her to audition for the school play. She quickly learned that when she lost herself in a character, the more her stutter would diminish.
Using her Personal Experiences to Help Others
The “Jungle Cruise” actress now enjoys helping kids find similar ways to deal with their stuttering through her work with the American Institute for Stuttering. “Well, I think of all the causes, my work with the stuttering community is the one that pierces my heart probably most profoundly because of my own personal experience with it,” she said. “I know it in every nuance and so to be able to help and to be able to offer up any advice or assistance or emboldenment that I can, it just is the greatest pleasure for me because it’s a very misunderstood, misrepresented disability, and…it’s one that is very often bullied and laughed at because people look funny and sound funny when they stutter.”
Blunt is active in speaking efforts and fundraising for the cause. She said the American Institute for Stuttering understands that how kids relate to their stutter is usually the issue. “You’ve got to fall in love with the fact that you’ve got a stutter to accept it,” she said at the recent benefit gala. “But it’s not all of you. Everyone’s got something – and this is just your thing.”
Raising Daughters and Getting Involved in Women’s Causes
Raising two daughters – Hazel, 6 and Violet, 3 – with husband actor John Krasinski, has inspired Blunt to get more involved in women’s causes. She also supports Malala Fund, created by Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai to break down barriers preventing millions of girls worldwide from receiving an education. The couple had the opportunity to meet the young leader back in 2017. “She’s the most poignant, impressive person I’ve ever met,” she said. “What she says is true: When women are empowered in communities, those communities flourish. I want to support Malala until the day I die.”
The couple also make it a point to give back in other ways, and one way is to work with Family Reach, an organization that helps families affected by cancer with financial support. Blunt and Krasinski want to continue to give back and hope to pass on those values to their daughters. “Empathy reigns supreme in our house. We tell them all the time, ‘Be brave, be kind,'” Blunt explained.