“I’m a deaf YouTuber who, through warm and amusing videos adds vintage fabulousness to a life with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Showing that a little positivity will go a long way!”Jessica Kellgran-Fozard
Jessica Kellgren-Fozard is a deaf and disabled YouTuber who often makes videos with her wife and dogs. Her channel ranges from vintage hairstyles to travel vlogs to religion to baking and so many other things. Jessica discusses her disabilities, being queer, her experience with the deaf community, and so many other essential topics.
She is someone the world desperately needs to pay attention to and learn a few things from.
Fair warning, this article will undoubtedly be biased, I’ve been watching Jessica’s videos for years, and I have nothing but good things to say about her. She handles difficult topics so gracefully and honestly while adding her own vintage and positive spin to everything.
Jessica first started making YouTube videos in 2011. Since then, she has gained hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
She’s taken her subscribers with her on her travels across the world, to VidCon and other significant events, and she’s shown her disabled life from her bed.
Through her YouTube and Instagram, Jessica shares much of her life (the good and the bad) with the entire internet. As she often stresses in her videos, she’s making the content she would have wished to see in the world when she was growing up.
Growing up and simply living with disabilities or being queer or being deaf is all so difficult. Living that life without any representation makes it even harder. And Jessica wants to change that.
Since starting her channel, she has made hundreds of videos. Often, she uploads twice a week. During December, she partakes in “vlogmas”. A challenge on YouTube to upload a video a day for the entire month of December. That all adds up quickly!
She keeps her channel very organised. Jessica sorts all her videos into playlists, which she then files into themes.
Who is Jessica Kellgren-Fozard?
Well, as I said before, she is a deaf, disabled, queer YouTuber. She lives in Brighton, England. She and her wife Claudia, live in a house, and they have two little white dogs together.
Jessica graduated from uni with a film and screen studies degree. While she did graduate, she graduated late due to several varying medical complications, and she finished her A levels two years behind everyone else, finishing with four A levels and then spending five years completing uni.
She grew up in a Quaker household and still follows the practices of her religion. She and Claudia were married through a Quaker marriage. There are several videos posted by her explaining the faith, her experiences, and her wedding.
A large part of her aesthetic is vintage. From her hair to her clothes to her personality, she styles much of herself after vintage trends. A variety of videos surrounding her vintage fashion sense are uploaded on her channel. Her Instagram features much of her fashion through cute photos.
Travel vlogs make up much of her channel. In 2018, she and Claudia took a trip to Malaysia, filming the entire trip. They both have travelled to Budapest, France, America, and more, documenting all their trips with scrapbook styled videos. (These may be some of my favourite videos!)
Living with any chronic illness or hearing impairment or being queer are all things that are hard to live with. Seeing someone else similar to yourself is always a comfort through any challenge.
Within any form of media, there is always a distinct lack of representation for minority groups or oppressed people. While the argument that those groups are smaller is valid, it doesn’t make the situation any better. Living without representation can be incredibly harmful. (For why representation matters and more information on it, check out some of these marvellous articles by other contributors: The Power of Representation by Saher Hyderali, Underrepresentation: Changing the Face of Concern by Jenna Roche, Why Does Representation of Women and People of Colour Matter in the Media by Padmini Simhan, Female Representation in Corporate America by Devon Hansen, The Underrepresentation of Women in Science by Miranda Ramirez)
Jessica grew up not seeing anyone like herself in mainstream media. She suffered through spending months in hospitals, others telling her she was making it all up, bullying in school, having her education set back, and so many other hardships.
Throughout everything she went through, she didn’t have anyone like her to look up to. No one like her to make her smile and feel less alone. When spending months in a hospital with few friends and little else going right, representation can mean a lot.
Jessica wants to show others that they are not alone. No matter what is happening in the world or your life: you are not alone. Not only has she turned herself into the representation she wanted to see, but she has fostered a community through her channel of people who come from all walks of life. They can all reach out to one another. In the comments of her videos, in the comments on her Instagram, in her live stream, her discord channel, and so many other ways.
Now, people who would have once thought themselves alone can find themselves a role model who has been through similar things and a large, accepting community of people who have all had similar experiences. Jessica has created a small world that builds up people and helps people let some positivity in their lives.
Because of the content she makes and the community she has fostered, people now have a safe place to go to. There’s an extensive, free collection of educational videos that have been posted by her. She spreads awareness of varying topics. She informs herself and others of relevant news and her opinion on it. All this she does to make the world a place she wants to be in.
Jessica has used her position and platform to spread much awareness and positivity, what else could a gal do in this world?
My personal impact
I have been watching Jessica’s videos for years now. I’ve seen her grow and change with time. Just I have grown and changed as well. During troubling times for myself, it has been a comfort seeing someone who has gone through a lot (even some similar things to me) and who is still smiling.
As I started to lose my own hearing, I felt isolated and alienated from my own family and friends. But seeing someone who has been through the same thing is so encouraging. It helped me to feel less alone and inspired me to keep going.
I’ve suffered from migraines for a lot of my life, something I can relate to Jessica on. Watching videos of her experiences with migraines, videos that are just light-hearted and silly, makes everything a little more bearable.
I’m just one example of the many people Jessica has affected. She has touched the lives and hearts of all who are apart of her community.
Jessica spreads the message of positivity and representation in a light-hearted and retro-themed way. A little positivity goes a long way in this world and she definitely has a lot of positivity to offer others.
If you still don’t believe me on why she’s so wonderful, go watch some of her videos and see for yourself. I personally recommend watching her Malaysia Vlogs, her Mobility Aid Hunt playlist, or any of her baking videos.
Jessica pushes for representation (something mainstream media is well overdue for), she brings happiness everywhere she goes, she tackles difficult and taboo topics with grace and intelligence, and she’s created a welcoming community for anyone to join.
If more people spread more representation and joy, I think the world would be a better place.