Jessica Kellgren-Fozard is best known for her YouTube channel of the same name, with over half a million subscribers on which she talks about her life with disabilities and chronic illness, in a positive uplifting way.
Jessica has a rare condition called HNPP and MCTD that effect her nerves and connective tissues. Her condition can vary in severity from day to day, with at its worst her waking to find she cannot move her arms or legs. For this reason Jessica occasionally needs mobility aids. She is also deaf and partially visually impaired.
A disability rights activist, last year Jessica was rewarded for her services to the community with an honouree doctorate from the University of Worcester.
She lives with her wife and two dogs (Walter and Tilly) in Brighton and is a notable figure in the LGBTQ+ community having been highly commended as one of the rising stars of the year by DIVA magazine.
She recently teamed up with the YouTube Originals service and Alain de Botton on the channel ‘The School of..’ to create an episode exploring the meaning of happiness where she shares her positive outlook on life.
It is a joy to interview Jessica on the blog.
Describe a typical day for you?
My job is so varied that there is no such thing as a ‘typical day’! I work from home and put out two videos a week, which consists of writing, filming, editing, publishing and marketing the video onto YouTube, as well as across other social media platforms. I also do a range of public speaking on both disability and positivity both nationally and internationally requiring me to travel and be flexible about my working week. I collaborate with other creators and brands
What do you feel are your greatest achievements?
The greatest achievement that has come from my work on YouTube is that I have managed to create a safe space online. My followers and subscribers have built a beautiful community where they can reach out and support each other online and sometimes even in person. It is wonderful to receive messages from parents who say that they have watched my videos with their teenagers and finally understand what their teenager has been going through.
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
I always carry my prescription medication along with extra strong painkillers! I need a regular dose of caffeine as well so I’m never without a bottle of Diet Coke and a do love the occasional Sugarfree Werthers Original Butter Candies.
What are your ambitions in life?
I try to spend every day enjoying the good things I can find around me. So I want to continue to find joy in each day, whatever life brings to me, I do have dreams of becoming a published author and becoming a mother at some point too. Being deaf I wouldn’t be able to hear the pitter patter of tiny feet but I’m looking forward to seeing the little human-foot-shaped footprints. For now, the muddy puppy-foot-shaped ones will suffice.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
That I don’t have to say ‘yes’ to everything and that my future followers would be so amazingly understanding about my needing to give myself a break when it comes to my energy levels and not pushing myself too hard.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I’m actually tremendously happy with my life and if, 5 years from now, I was still creating quality content, reaching out to people so they know they are not alone, cuddling little beings and spending lazy days in the English countryside with my beautiful wife I would be more than satisfied.
What advice would you give a budding YouTube creator?
Answer every comment. Building your YouTube community is the most important thing and then, no matter what happens they will see you through.
Finally, happiness is…
most often found in the moments when you are aiming to give it to someone else.
Read more Wonderful Women Interviews.