A Letter to Jimmy Fallon, Who’s Inspired Me as an Adult With Autism
Dear Mr. Fallon,
You may not know it, but you have many people who look up to you as a role model. A great deal of my inspiration has come from your career both on- and off-screen. When I was 4, I was diagnosed with autism. During my life I had to overcome many obstacles to get to where I am. One of my biggest obstacles was public speaking.
While growing up, watching movies helped me build confidence. Watching the different characters opened me up to learning things from other people’s perspectives. Seeing people do things I wanted to do on-screen made me think one day I could do them as well.
This was around the time I watched your movie “Taxi” with Queen Latifah. I truly admired your confidence. You seemed comfortable in your own skin, and that’s something I wanted for myself. Being bullied in school for being different was always tough for me. On “Saturday Night Live, you inspired me by being able to take on many different characters. This is something I always wanted to do, too — trying to understand other people and their perspectives. Seeing your energy in the show really had an impact on me.
As years passed, I acted in several plays, and once I got to college, I became an autism advocate. I used the courage I built after watching many of your movies (along with your hilarious SNL skits) to do things I wanted to do in my career. Thanks to you, years later I even started my own TV show right after you premiered “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” With the “Tonight Show,” you also gave me more confidence when it came to things like talking to others and making eye contact. That’s something I’ve strived to do with my show with every single guest I have.
I think all of this played a part in why I wanted to become a public speaker. The confidence you showed in movies and television made me try to reflect that in my own abilities.
After seeing the popularity of your talk show, my hope with my TV show is to do the same for those who’ve been bullied for being different. I called the show “Different is Beautiful” to let people know that “normal” in our society is just a dryer setting.
If you ever read this letter, I hope you reach out to me one day just to say hi. I always wanted someone to look up to growing up, and you were there for me when there weren’t many autism advocates in the mainstream media I knew of. Now I hope one day my show can become as popular as yours to share the beautiful stories we have in our community.
Keep being yourself and doing the things that got you to where you are, because I believe that message is going to help a lot of people. I know it helped me.
For the readers at The Mighty, if you would share this on your social channels in the hopes of Mr. Fallon seeing this one day, that would be amazing. Thank you.