‘A Quiet Place’ Star Emily Blunt Says Having a Stutter Made Her a Better Listener
Emily Blunt has enjoyed a successful acting career. She made a name for herself after appearing in hit films such as The Devil Wears Prada, A Quiet Place, and Mary Poppins Returns. Here’s what the actress said about her speech difficulties and how having a stutter made her a better listener.
Emily Blunt struggled with stuttering from an early age
Blunt told Marie Claire’s Sammy Blatstein she began to stutter around the age of six or seven. Her speech difficulties became worse when she turned 11 or 12 years old:
My stutter really started to take hold around six or seven and then kind of got progressively more challenging for me, and as I reached about 11 or 12, it was pretty ingrained. It wasn’t the whole part of me; it was just a part of who I was. There were certain people who liked to define me by that. That was tough. I decided not to really spend time with those people. I’ve probably only now come to realize that everybody has something growing up. That just happened to be my thing.
Emily Blunt says school was tough because of her stutter
Blunt says one of the toughest parts of attending school was that she felt limited when it came to certain activities. She told the publication she became hesitant to speak up in class or have phone conversations with her classmates:
School was interesting because there were certain things I couldn’t do and wanted to, like read out my poem in class. I would never want to do that. I would hate it if the teacher called on me to answer something. I don’t know what it’s like for you, but I think when stutterers are put on the spot, that’s hard. I didn’t love calling my friends.
I could never say my own name if someone said, “What’s your name?” Because you can’t substitute a word out, which is what we tend to do to find a better flow. You substitute another word that’s easier, and you can’t substitute your name. So I realized quickly as a kid, any pressurized situations were quite hard for me.
How having a stutter helped Emily Blunt become a better listener
Although having a stutter posed some difficulties in social situations, Blunt was able to focus on the positive. She told Blatstein that being unable to communicate the way she wanted helped her become a better listener because she viewed the world in a different way:
I think in some ways, when you go through something like having a stutter, you become a really good listener. You absorb the world in a different way. Because you’re maybe less inclined to talk when you’re going through it. You become really conscious of a lot of stuff going around you, so I think I was a really observant kid.
I was a really empathetic kid and still feel that’s something I try and lead with. And I encourage empathy in my kids and embracing differences and not being scared of them, or teasing people for them, you know? Making mistakes or feeling like you have something that causes you to make mistakes, is a good thing. It’s how you learn, and it’s how you grow. When you go through something like that, you establish a real sense of kindness. And you’ve got to be kind to yourself and you’re going to be kind to other people.
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