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The story behind the video. 

 

I am utterly overwhelmed and humbled by the response to this video. At the time I am writing this, it has amassed over 2 million views on Facebook with thousands of comments, messages, and emails to go along with it.  I think it’s time to share the story behind this viral video for those who are interested.

 

***The video has since garnered nearly 100 million view***

 

I recently was honored with YouTube Next Up. As part of the award I was invited to YouTube Space LA to a one week film school boot camp. We were to film a video there, but no kitchen was available. I was at a loss for what I could possibly film without a kitchen. And that is when the comment happened. It didn’t hurt my feelings and it didn’t surprise me either. Lots of people have commented about my gray hair over the years and I have never been ashamed to share my reasons. I decided to answer the nasty commenter and then share the comment and answer on my personal Facebook page. The response from my friends and family there was overwhelming. At that moment, I knew what my video project would be.

 

The video was filmed at YouTube Space LA with the assistance of four amazing people (Jay, James, Jerry, and my mentor Julie). I wasn’t sure that I would ever post it anywhere, but used it as an opportunity to experiment with filmmaking and storytelling. I had a script and tried filming that. My amazing friend Jerry told me I needed to do a take where I just spoke from the heart.  There I was in a dark room with lights glaring in my eyes. I couldn’t see anyone, just a glint of reflection from the camera lens. I spoke to the camera, to an unknown audience, but mostly to myself. And that’s what you see above.

 

At the end of the week we screened our projects on a movie theater screen with about 35 people as an audience. I held my breath as mine came on screen, wondering what everyone’s response would be. I felt so naked and vulnerable. It was all so raw. I had no idea I could hold my breath for three and a half minutes! The response from my fellow YouTube creators was overwhelming. They were so encouraging and demanded that I post it. It took me a number of days to actually share it on my YouTube channel. I ended up deciding to share it on Facebook as well at the last minute. I was doing a fundraiser for some friends who are adopting a baby and all the traffic to my blog was being donated to them. I thought the video might generate some more traffic for them. I had no idea that the video would end up being viewed by millions.

 

The response is humbling. I get comments, messages, and emails of support every few seconds. I am making it a point to read every single one simply because I want to make sure each and every story is heard. I don’t know that I will ever be able to respond to them all and I apologize. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. I have spent the last several days at my kitchen table reading all of your words. I have wept with you. I have laughed with you. And I have been deeply enriched by the entire experience.

 

People have created a hashtag (#bethatperson) and the message of self love is spreading. BBC has written an article about the video, and people are campaigning to reach The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I don’t even know what to say. I am at a loss for words. How do you respond to accidentally creating a movement like that? I surely don’t know! What I do know is that I am deeply touched and forever changed by this experience. Thank you. That is all I know how to say.

 

rachel-farnsworth-headshot

 

A small note: To the many sincere desires to help my medical condition: Thank you for your concern. I am currently very happy with my current treatment and am not interested in the many offers I am receiving for medical advice. 

 

 

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Pam Sperlbaum
November 1, 2020 7:15 pm

It hurts me deeply that another human being could be so cruel to you. You are an amazing young women that I just discovered this year.Thank you for sharing your gift of cooking/baking with me.
I look forward to seeing you more. <3

Erin Edwards
July 11, 2020 12:03 pm

Your response to such a nasty comment shows just how incredible a person you are. The world needs more people like you! 🙂

SHARON OLIVER
March 29, 2020 11:15 pm

Hi Rachel! Your recipes I have written into 3 5-subject Wide Rule 10-1/2 x 8 notebook and I have made many of them. I made my friends guinea pigs to be the ones I tested with the meals I have made with your website opened up on my laptop as I prepare the meals you inspired me to make. You are beautiful and amazing. I never learned to cook, but people don’t know that about me because you have become my “teacher” in the kitchen. Thank you. My next project is to make your best ever soft pretzels and the… Read more »

Sandy b
March 29, 2020 9:42 pm

I just saw your video on the insensitive comment someone made about your hair color. To the person who made the caddy comment, shame on you. No one should make such a rude comment. I think you are beautiful in every way. You handled this was grace and class. I appreciate your sharing your recipes and for sharing your truth. I hope that this critic has learned something and I wish you a happy and healthy life. Thank you for sharing.

Brett Padget
February 27, 2020 7:47 pm

What an incredible lady … your beauty and warmth makes me so happy…. thank you …I am a single father for a wonderful 10 year old and you are what I hope my daughter becomes … an amazing warm lovely lady. ?

Marian Kelly
May 6, 2019 7:21 am

Just saw this wonderful post on Facebook. Thank you for sharing your honesty, your hard-won outlook, and this profound lesson. You have given me some much-needed (and much appreciated) perspective, and I am grateful to you. I wish you good health for as long as you can have it, and a continued good life. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Wait — did I mention how beautiful you are? Thank you again. I just can’t stop thanking you.
(I have posted these remarks on your Facebook page, but I wanted to cover my bases.)

Pamela Kaegi
October 22, 2018 11:25 am

Just saw your post about your grey hair! I’m angry that someone sent that critical letter to you, but their words are worthless.
You are vibrant, kind and beautiful! Your approach to who you are, and to life, is perfect! I hope your message reaches everyone who needs it.
Thank you for telling your truth…your strength is awesome!
Your new friend,
Pam Kaegi ?

Rose Abraham-Nelson
August 10, 2018 4:22 am

Miss Rachel,
I just love your grace in how you responded to the petty comment. You are a genuinely good person. Sending Eskimo hugs from Alaska!

July 19, 2018 4:14 am

Dear Rachel, I just read an article about young women embracing their grey hair on the BBC website. As your video was mentioned in the piece, I followed the Facebook link and watched it. As a result, I ended up with a puddle of tears on my laptop – perhaps not the kind of reaction one would expect from a man in his mid-fifties. I just wanted to spend a few minutes telling you how utterly beautiful you are – in every possible way. For me, It is bewildering how anyone could maintain you look like an “old hag”. However,… Read more »

September 22, 2017 9:53 am

I have to say thank you thank you thank you! As a thirty-four-year-old wife and mother whose brown hair is rapidly turning gray I feel the same way you do about it. I also have had comments made that we can take care of my gray hair pretty easily and I just smile and say I’m learning to love and embrace every part of me. I also carry more pounds than I would like to I am learning two take care of my body better will loving myself exactly where I am. My body my gray hair the ability to… Read more »

Hi Rachel.
I hust saw a story on you in the Australian Addisons Disease newsletter. Go girl!
One thing – I know of Addisonian women in their 90s who have had the condition 40 to 50 years. So with normal replacement therapy for your stress and salt balance hormones you should expect a normal lifespan.

What you say makes a great deal of sense and I know you will get a lot of support from the UK Addisobs Disease Self Hrlp Group.

Capt D banerjee
September 5, 2017 3:05 am

I am a father of daughter who suffers from a neurological condition , and have had to share my quota of difficult and rude questions and comments . My daughter , I am sure , must be going through a lot more . But now , I draw strength from this beautiful response given by a young girl . Your parents would be so proud . The so called educated and cultured society has its own mix of the sensible and the senseless – and my response had always been to ignore them . But now , both me and… Read more »

Cyndi
March 14, 2017 1:31 pm

Hi Rachel. I’m glad your standing strong. We do need more people lifting us up! I have Addison’s disease too. Your comment about “most likely not living to 70” did catch me off guard, since I don’t think of it that way. Maybe I’m missing something?Anyway, glad to see you standing strong. Gaining the weight from the meds has been hard for me. I will start following your recipes!

Laura
January 7, 2017 4:04 pm

People can sure be mean these days and even when we know their hate reflects their own insecurities, it still hurts. It is truly sad that our culture fears aging instead of embracing it. It is even worse when someone as successful and beautiful as yourself has to suffer from a cultural flaw you don’t even take part in. Your strength in this video is what I admire. Your conviction of truths is what I relate to and your beautiful energy is what makes this a beautiful message. Thank you for bringing your perspective back to my reality I struggle… Read more »

Gina DeRose
January 6, 2017 9:48 pm

i have always wanted to be a blogger and wondered since i went to culinary school, how i could use my background. i was laid off a few years back, took courses while my grandmother who really taught me to cook as a kid, was getting Alzheimer and i wanted to take care of her. them then my dad got sick,then my dog passed, and i was a personal chef so i could juggle taking care of things that were falling apart. i never learned how to blog, never encouraged to do so,and i have family members who pick on… Read more »

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