Entertainment Movies Emily Blunt Opens Up About the 'Shocking' Way Acting Impacted Her Childhood Stutter Emily Blunt spoke with PEOPLE at the American Institute for Stuttering's 2022 Freeing Voices, Changing Lives Gala on Monday By Jen Juneau Jen Juneau Twitter Jen Juneau is a digital news writer for PEOPLE since 2016. People Editorial Guidelines and Mary Park Published on July 12, 2022 10:08 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Emily Blunt. Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty for American Institute for Stuttering Emily Blunt is continuing an important conversation. Speaking with PEOPLE Monday at the American Institute for Stuttering's 2022 Freeing Voices, Changing Lives Gala in New York City, the 39-year-old actress — who hosted the event — said she thinks it's "important" for her to keep "speaking openly about" having a stutter, "a disability people don't know much about." And "in some ways" for her personally, Blunt said, acting "was a sort of invitation into speaking fluently for one of the first times," she said, even if it didn't "cure" her stuttering, per se ("Once you are a stutterer, you will always be a stutterer," she said in a speech). "I wouldn't say that's why I've ventured into acting, but it was just a bit shocking the first time I was able to speak, you know, doing a silly voice or an accent pretending to be someone else," Blunt told PEOPLE. "People don't talk about [it] enough if it hasn't got enough exposure, and millions of people around the world struggle with it." Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories. Emily Blunt. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty for American Institute for Stuttering RELATED GALLERY: 10 Stars Who Have Opened Up About Living with a Stutter "And I think it's a very moving force," she added. "If you can't express yourself, you can't be yourself. And there's something very poignant in freeing people of the grip of a speech impediment, because it's like a sort of imposter that lives in your body." The Jungle Cruise actress previously revealed that her grandfather, uncle and cousin all had a stutter, and noticed it in herself when she was around 6 or 7 years old. "It's biological and it's often hereditary and it's not your fault," Blunt told PEOPLE Monday. "And I think it's very often a disability that people bully and make fun of. So I think, to raise awareness about what it's really about, and that there's this soft place for you to land in this amazing organization. It's a big deal for me to be here." RELATED VIDEO: Emily Blunt Opens Up About Being Bullied For Her Childhood Stutter Blunt has been active in fundraising and speaking efforts for the AIS, having hosted the organization's benefit gala multiple times in years past. Reflecting on her childhood, she previously told PEOPLE that a teacher encouraged her to audition for the school play after noticing she didn't stutter when she playfully impersonated others. Then 12, the actress found that the more she lost herself in characters, the less self-conscious she felt and the more her stutter would diminish. Now, Blunt helps kids find similar ways to cope through her work with the AIS, telling PEOPLE in March 2020, "I think of all the causes, my work with the stuttering community is the one that pierces my heart probably most profoundly because of my own personal experience with it." As for the AIS, "They understand that how these kids relate to their stutter is usually the issue," she said. "You've got to fall in love with the fact that you've got a stutter to accept it. But it's not all of you. Everyone's got something — and this is just your thing."