Growing up, Caitlyn Cohen was insecure about her stutter.
She was diagnosed in preschool, after her teacher noticed she was having trouble with her words.
The next several years weren’t easy — a fact Cohen has been open about on her extremely popular TikTok page. The 20-year-old now has nearly one million followers on her account, where you’ll find hashtags like #stutter, #disabilityawareness and #disabilitycheck throughout her clips.
She wasn’t always as comfortable sharing herself in such a public forum. A huge moment came in 2018, though, when Cohen competed in the Miss New York Teen USA pageant.
As she admitted on TikTok, it wasn’t easy.
“[My stutter] gets so much worse when I’m nervous,” she told a commenter.
Two years later, Cohen has found plenty of success as a model, influencer and activist. She’s even collaborated with Victoria’s Secret’s PINK apparel line, becoming a campus rep for the brand at her college.
That announcement came with a video, titled “I Am Enough,” in which Cohen speaks frankly about her stutter. In the clip, she explains that she “didn’t feel normal” as a kid. She was bullied, and she avoided speaking in class whenever she could.
Many of those negative experiences have found their way onto TikTok. Cohen often answers questions from her followers, explaining how her relationship with her disability has changed over time.
In one video, she explains how her stutter affects her dating life.
“My stutter used to, like, really hold me back from talking to guys who I liked back in high school,” she says. “But like, now that I’m in college and I’m much more confident, I don’t really let my stutter stop me.”
Check out In The Know’s video on Jiya Day, the 20-year-old TikToker using the app to share her experience with cerebral palsy.
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