It is not easy to run the world, as Sammie Cimarelli shows. The boundary-breaking female has been determined to harness her passions and change the status quo, in big and small ways. JD Sports and PUMA partnered with JD Sports to highlight the accomplishments of women in entertainment. Sammie, a former star of The Circle, will share her experiences and break down stigma surrounding mental health. Sammie, who is featured in the PUMA MAYZE, spoke candidly with us about her life before The Circle, her college experiences, and how she uses her platform to increase the voices of the unheard and make meaningful change.
What have you noticed in your life since appearing on The Circle?
My life has drastically changed. Everything has improved since I moved from Miami, Florida to Los Angeles. I love my current location, where I live, and the creative people I have surrounded myself with. Unknowingly, The Circle has brought so much joy into my life. I can now say that I am financially stable. But the friendships and experiences that I have had since joining The Circle have been everything I could ask for.
What have been the obstacles you faced with your new fame? And what are the benefits? How do you plan to make a difference?
My biggest struggle has been my social anxiety. It was difficult to let go of the need to always look professional and be “picture ready” in public places. I also had to learn how to recognize when I wasn’t being photographed or speak in public. I have been able to see the positives in everything, even my struggles. It has helped me deal with social anxiety. The biggest positive for me is the friendships I have made through social media over the past year and a quarter. They are confident, honest, and strong individuals who share content that inspires younger generations to live their purpose and love themselves. This is also the content that I try to promote.
How was it like studying psychology and criminalology? What was it that inspired you to become a registered behaviour technician?
It was an amazing experience. My passion for psychology has always been there. I love working with children. It wasn’t until my junior year that I decided to double major in criminalology and minor in sociology. It was the best decision that I could have made for my self. Through my internship as a Montgomery County Correctional Facility social worker, I was able combine psychology and criminalology. My roommate was working in the same facility when I moved to Miami and I became a therapist. I needed to find a job to make ends meet. My company paid me to become RBT-certified. About six months later, I realized that I wanted to further my education and pursue a master’s in ABA. Yes. My psychology background has saved me from the learning curves of social media. I have created on social media and become a focal point. My perception of social media has been that it isn’t real. My background in psychology has allowed me to see that certain things are real. It’s not always easy to fake success or make it look like a facade on social media. Not everything has to be negative.
What has your experience been with autism spectrum children? Why do you believe it is important to provide support, tools and resources to every child you work with?
It’s important to interact with children. Our world is neurodiverse, which means that different aids will be needed for different situations and circumstances. It’s our responsibility as adults to help children in any way we can to foster a healthy and happy environment.
How can you help other women do the same, especially in a world where women often feel they don’t have the power?
Sincere truth be told, I do my best to empower all people, not just one. While it’s great if one person resonates more, I cannot stress enough how important it is to make my content accessible to everyone who views it. In the last year or so, I have seen more people express themselves and stand up for what they believe in. Our world is moving in the right direction and I believe it will continue to move forward. Generations to come will have the heart and access necessary information to make a difference.
Social media allows you to speak openly and freely about mental health. What makes you believe it is important to use your platform for this purpose?
Because I was only 7K followers, I didn’t see any influencers openly discussing my mental health or personal struggles. I would instead follow larger platforms that showed positivity and a positive outlook on life. Even though I had 7K followers I still used my platform for speaking out and creating a safe place for others. My platform grew and I realized that I did not want it to be a highlight reel. It had to be real. I didn’t want to be untouchable or impossible to reach. I wanted my followers feel like they could reach me and achieve the same success stories as I did.
What is your role in spreading positivity on the LGBTQ+ community’s platform? And what are the ways that you are actively making a difference to help the community?
You must start at home to make a difference and support your community. I have found that I am a valuable source of information to my family and friends. [Also, I make my family aware that it is important to not use words that could hurt others. This includes explaining the importance of labels/pronouns and reprogramming thoughts from being judgmental or negative to be informative and useful. If everyone is open to learning from others, the only way things can change is if they don’t feel the need to change or judge.
What do you think it means to be a “fierce woman” in your field and your community?
My family and friends are my inspirations. My support network is very strong. It’s built on my being strong, confident and outspoken. All of my relatives were independent and outspoken growing up. My family taught me to stand up for what was right and to defend what was wrong. I didn’t second-guess myself and was always proud of who I am. Being a “fierce woman” means to love and accept others around you. To be understanding, welcoming, and a voice for others who don’t have one or are denied one.