Stuttering and Social Media: An Interview with Rising TikTok Star Marc Winski
September 25, 2020
Mark O’Malia, M.S., CCC-SLP
We have been thrilled to see all of the positive press that stuttering has been getting over the past few months. One person in our community who is making sure to make some press of his own is Marc Winski. Marc is a professional actor, alumni of AIS, and an active member of the stuttering community who is always developing creative ways to raise stuttering awareness. Most recently, Marc has taken the social media platform TikTok by storm. He even appeared on ABC News Now to discuss the impact he is having on the world!We were excited to catch up with Marc, and ask him some questions about his inspiration, how he develops content, and how he finds meaning in his own experience with stuttering.
Take 5 with Marc Winski
1) Tell us about yourself and your stuttering journey.I love to talk about my stuttering journey because it has helped transformed me into the person that I am today.I’m going to try my best to keep this short and sweet. I grew up as a person who stutters and went through some decent speech therapy. Although I was a confident and expressive kid with a good outlook on stuttering not holding me back, I still suppressed A LOT of feelings about how I truly felt about stuttering. I would still change feared words and try to avoid the moments of stuttering like the plague….I HATED to stutter!!.. but I never told anybody that.Jump to 2010…I found AIS and was told:“Marc, you don’t have to avoid….you can say the exact words you want to say……” THAT WAS HUGE!!!!! Then, after that, I, well, I never changed a word ever again…..Did it take mindful practice? Yes! (And it still does), but it’s now something I’m very proud of and it’s the cornerstone to my platform.[embed]https://www.tiktok.com/@marcwinski/video/6852494969043799302[/embed]2) In a relatively short amount of time, you've grown a large following on TikTok (about 20,000 followers and counting!). What was your motivation for using the platform for stuttering awareness?
I’m absolutely blown away by all of the support. As an actor and a creator, I knew I wanted to create major change for the Stuttering Community. I was tired of seeing the same old “overcome” narrative.
I wanted to spread REAL and TRUTHFUL facts, stories, and experiences from my life and also from my Stamily (Stuttering Family :)). This is bigger than just me and I’m honored to have this platform. My passion for being there for my community really continues to drive me further and further.
3) What has the response been to your videos, both personally and from other users on TikTok?
The response has been so enlightening. I’m receiving comments from many people ranging from “I had no idea about this.” to “I stutter too and have always felt so alone on this journey. Thank you for putting yourself on screen so me and my son can see stuttering in a true light.” And everywhere in between. Many are loving the comic/satiric spin that I sometimes put into the work because sometimes you just need a good laugh. I try to put a lot of my own truth out there and also a collective truth from tens of thousands of other stutterers that I have had the pleasure of meeting. I’m blown away!
4) How do you hope to grow your platform to reach more people?
My list of things I want to create is through the roof and I’m excited to grow the brand and the platform to major heights. Again, it’s NEEDED as a source of information and joy for me and the stuttering community, and it can be seen by EVERYONE. I’m excited to continue as a guest speaker in schools, universities, and corporate offices to spread solid awareness and also show others that this community is strong, passionate, and has a voice that needs to be heard. There’s a lot that can be learned from a person who stutters. We go through so many strength building scenarios EVERY DAY, and the stories I have and have heard from others need to be told. There’s a lot of inspiration and life!
[embed]https://www.tiktok.com/@marcwinski/video/6853571432920681734[/embed]5) For someone reading who is hoping to take a first step towards being more open about their stuttering, what advice do you think you might give them?
Just try it…… Post anything. Post one of my videos, post a comment, post a status or a tweet about something cool that happened throughout your day. Use the hashtags #istutter or #Stamily. Social media is the easiest way to casually advertise stuttering. Keep it simple. However you want to.
I remember my first social media post EVER about stuttering happened during my intensive program at AIS."What an amazing day!!!! I have never been so happy about my stutter...tired and fatigued...but excited” (2010)
Want to try it? Scared? Nervous? THAT’S OK!! Feel the fear and do it anyway…. You got this!!! GO FOR IT!
Check out more of Marc's content on his TikTok page.Marc Winski is an actor/singer/Stuttering Awareness Guy in NYC and a person who stutters. Some of his credits include National Tours: Grease, Hairspray, and a Mainstage Performer with Disney Cruise Lines. As a member of the stuttering community, he is currently striving to give a voice and be an advocate for people who stutter in social media/theatre/film/media/television. He recently appeared on an episode of “What Would You Do?” on ABC , where he portrayed a waiter who stutters. He leads an improv workshop for people who stutter and he hopes to give many more opportunities to show stuttering in the arts. Live your unique truth.--
The American Institute for Stuttering is a leading non-profit organization whose primary mission is to provide universally affordable, state-of-the-art speech therapy to people of all ages who stutter, guidance to their families, and much-needed clinical training to speech professionals wishing to gain expertise in stuttering. Offices are located in New York, NY and Atlanta, GA, and services are also available Online. Our mission extends to advancing public and scholarly understanding of this often misunderstood disorder.
Mark O’Malia, M.S., CCC-SLP
New York Clinic Director
As a person who stutters, Mark has an in-depth understanding of the unique challenges that stuttering can create in an individual’s life.