Stamford resident Samantha Ramsdell was trying to make it as a comedian and live performer, as she traveled into New York City five times a week for various open mic nights.
And then the pandemic hit.
Stuck at home last year, Ramsdell, 31, had to figure out new ways to be creative, so she decided to use TikTok, the social media platform that allows users to make short-form videos. Ramsdell was apprehensive at first since the app is popular among teenagers and children.
But she went for it, and the rest is history.
“Something was just telling me to do it. I made a promise that I was going to post at least one video a day and try out a bunch of stuff and see what happens,” Ramsdell told Patch. “Here we are, and I’m almost at 1.8 million followers on TikTok.”
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Ramsdell almost immediately went viral for her large mouth; her TikTok followers began asking for crazy requests to see what she could fit inside of it. One of Ramsdell’s most viewed videos shows her fitting a six inch submarine sandwich in her mouth for a bite — it has received about 17 million views. She’s stuffed donuts, full croissants, giant cheeseburgers, french fries and slices of carrot cake into her mouth as well.
Samantha Ramsdell. (Kristen L. Stephenson/Guinness World Records)
“My whole life I knew I had a big mouth, but I guess I never really knew my true mouth potential until I really started doing a lot of TikToks and started to blow up on social media,” Ramsdell said. “I’d make these crazy faces and get all these comments about my mouth.”
Her followers urged her to go after the Guinness world record for biggest female mouth. When Guinness saw her content, they got in touch by email.
Ramsdell applied to get measured, but first she needed to get a doctor’s note that said she was healthy, and that no alterations had been made to her mouth. She also had to get a specific measuring tool.
After about six months of going back and forth, Guinness sent an adjudicator to Ramsdell’s dentist in Norwalk in early July to make the record official. Ramsdell’s mouth gape measures 6.52 centimeters. Across, it measures over 10 centimeters.
Ramsdell said the last year has been a crazy ride.
“It’s crazy but also scary at the same time, because it’s still something I’ve been insecure about,” she said.
As a child growing up in Scarborough, Maine, Ramsdell was bullied in school about her mouth. She was called “Fish Mouth”, or told she looked like a frog.
“It was always something I looked at as a flaw. It’s kind of cool I’ve taken something that was a flaw and now turned it into one of the best things about me,” she said.
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Ramsdell hopes her story and her ability to embrace a part of her she’s always been insecure about can inspire others to do the same.
“I get many hate comments and still a lot of messages from people who still aren’t huge fans of my mouth,” she said. “I have to remind myself that hopefully it will inspire others who maybe feel like there’s something different about them or something they’re insecure about, that they should just celebrate it and make it your best asset.”
Along with her regular day job in Stamford, Ramsdell is still performing comedy. For more on Ramsdell and to follow her on her social media channels, click here.