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This star singer is often mistaken for drunk — but the truth is so much more interesting.

Just because someone lives their life on the stage doesn't mean we know everything about them. In fact, it seems like the things we don't know about them are often the most interesting and inspiring.

This star singer is often mistaken for drunk — but the truth is so much more interesting.
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TED

Megan Washington is an award-winning Australian musician with a secret.

But she's ready to be straight with us about a problem she's had for her entire life. First, however, she wants to be clear: "I know that other people in the world have far worse things to deal with."


You see, she has a stutter.

And that's what she wants to come clean about; that's her big semi-confession. (I say "semi" because it's not like she's hidden it for years, but she does admit, "I've never really talked about it before so explicitly.")

Whoa, now that is super interesting. Because just from listening to her music, you'd have no idea. (*Spoiler alert: Scroll down to hear some of her music.*)

So, what's that like, living your life on stage with a speech impediment?

"There are some interesting angles to having a stutter," Washington explains. Sometimes, people think she's forgotten their name. Other times ...

In the end, having a stutter is why singing means so much to her.

Because as Washington says,

    "Somehow, through some miraculous synaptic function of the human brain, it's impossible to stutter when you sing."

For the full effect of how awesome and inspiring this woman is, I'd really recommend checking out the video of her TED talk. Not into that? Then skip below for a listen of my favorite song off her new album, "There There."

"My Heart Is a Wheel" from Washington's recent album "There There."


FUN FACTS: Did you know?

Washington's not the only famous person with a stutter. Here are some others:

1. Bill Withers, the singer-songwriter known for "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Lean on Me." Withers explains in this neat podcast that he stuttered until he was about 30 years old.

2. Joe Biden, the 47th vice president of the United States. As a kid, Biden was teased by classmates and even teachers for his stutter. He talks about it here on "The View."

3. Lewis Carroll, author of "Alice in Wonderland." Carroll reportedly stuttered throughout his life (and allegedly wasn't allowed to become a priest because of it).

4. And what better way to end this post than with perhaps the most famous stutterer of all ... Porky Pig. "That's all, folks!"

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.