Cayley Boyd, aka “Jaw Girl” from TikTok

An inter­view with the girl who had her jaw wired shut

Newly minted TikTok star Cayley Boyd became an overnight cewebrity, simply by documenting her mandatory grills.

What‘s up, it’s me… JAW GIRL!” begins Cay­ley Boyd’s Tik­Tok video where she explains, just days away from her final cran­io­fa­cial surgery to cut the wires bind­ing her teeth shut, how nice her 121k fol­low­ers have been to her through­out the process.

For six weeks, she could eat only liq­uid meals and speak like a ven­tril­o­quist. She doc­u­ment­ed it all on her Tik­Tok page, @zacenron. Boyd was at a music fest in Butte, Mon­tana, liv­ing her best life when she face plant­ed on a curb. Her jaw broke and, as she explains, the des­ig­nat­ed pro­ce­dure to fix a bro­ken jaw is to wire it shut for six weeks.

The results are visu­al­ly fright­en­ing, but instead of hol­ing up in pri­vate, Boyd, 23, con­tin­ued work­ing her bar­tend­ing job at a back­woods lodge in Mon­tana dur­ing hunt­ing sea­son (which, for those not in the know, gen­er­al­ly lasts from late August until Thanks­giv­ing) while record­ing the emo­tion­al roller­coast­er ride of not being able to eat or speak prop­er­ly. The more fans” Boyd gained by post­ing her gen­uine­ly inven­tive videos – her jaw­tent – if you will, the more she became asso­ci­at­ed with that sin­gu­lar iden­ti­ty; sim­i­lar to recent viral Tik­Tokker, Kom­bucha Girl.

In order to com­plete this inter­view about her new­found viral­i­ty, Boyd had to dri­ve 20 miles and use wifi call­ing. Need­less to say, she hasn’t yet been stopped in the street for a self­ie. How­ev­er, her plight and the sub­se­quent milk­ing of it for meme-y videos has been a real joy to watch.

Tell me about your life. 

Well, I’m Tik­Tok famous. Fuck. I’m a bar­tender. I lit­er­al­ly bar­tend­ed for two weeks with my jaw wired shut and you have no idea how good it feels to have that shit out. I am killing it. I just get a lot of good tips. I made so much fuck­ing money.

Where are you?

Right now I’m 20 miles out­side of Augus­ta, Mon­tana, down a dirt road in a bunkhouse. My life is a weird thing, Trey, is what I’ll tell you. My life is real­ly weird.

What hap­pened to your jaw?

I went to Butte. Have you ever been to Butte Mon­tana? It was the folk fest, which was a huge par­ty in Butte. And I basi­cal­ly just ate shit, hit the curb, stood up and was like, Oh God, no.” Sat back down and could feel my jaw had com­plete­ly bro­ken apart. And I could feel it mov­ing around. So I told my friend, I’m like, This is bro­ken.” [I took] an Uber over to St. James, which is the hos­pi­tal there, and they basi­cal­ly gave me a ton of mor­phine and told me I have to go through cran­io­fa­cial surgery. So then I called my dad. My dad came and picked me up. And while we were wait­ing for him I made the hos­pi­tal Tik­Tok – I don’t know if you’ve seen but it’s like me in the hos­pi­tal. My eye­lin­er is like all over my face and my mouth is bloody and it’s to the Nacho Libre theme song, and you can see my jaw being com­plete­ly bro­ken or what­ev­er. And I made it because I think it’s hilar­i­ous to Tik­Tok inside of hospitals.

I did a thing where I said I hit a curb and I broke my jaw and now it’s wired shut. And then I did the one, the Kanye one was the big one. When I did Through the Wire. I made the Kanye one, it blew up and got 90,000 likes or some­thing and then I just start­ed gain­ing fol­low­ers and I had like 3,000 after that. And then I did an FAQ because every­one was like, How do you eat? How is it pos­si­ble for you to eat, what hap­pens if you throw up?” And then that one now is at 3 mil­lion views and some­thing like 300,000 likes. I keep mak­ing con­tent. And it’s funny.

OK, so you got your jaw wired shut. How does that work?

Basi­cal­ly, if you break your jaw, you have two options. They do surgery and set you up with steel plates and then you’re wired shut for two weeks or they just wire shut your teeth. They align your teeth and then wire it shut and then you’re stuck with it for six weeks, which is what I did. It’s just basi­cal­ly a cast for your mouth. So your jaw just heals. Peo­ple used to do it to lose weight, which is insane to me.

“[They] called me iron maid­en’ and then they called me jaws’, was a big one. The bar­tender at one of the bars in town called me broke jaw’, train tracks’, brace face’; Metal­li­ca’, broke jaw’, jaws’, jaw face’. There was a variety.”

Cay­ley Boyd

How do you feel about being known as jaw wired shut girl” forever?

It was hon­est­ly so fuck­ing fun­ny – I don’t care. I can be jaw wired shut girl for­ev­er. While my jaw was wired shut, I devel­oped the rela­tion­ship with food where I was like: Oh this is lit­er­al­ly just sus­tain­ing me.” So then I was in this weird monas­tic mode of self-reflec­tion and try­ing to keep my chill, because hon­est­ly, [before my acci­dent] I was on a full-on ben­der.

So what did you eat?

At the begin­ning, I wasn’t eat­ing very much at all. I would have some broth but my teeth were sen­si­tive. At one point I tried to juice stir fry, which was the most dis­gust­ing thing. It makes me sick think­ing about it now. At one point – which I refer to it as hit­ting rock bot­tom – I went to this bar with my friends to watch Bach­e­lor in Par­adise and this was when I was still in Mis­soula. But they got a plate of cheesy tater tots. And I was watch­ing them eat the tater tots and I lit­er­al­ly took a tater tot and was try­ing to pull it apart into tiny pieces and shove it behind my teeth and the wires got all dis­gust­ing. And I was like, I hate myself!”

I noticed like there are so many pop­u­lar videos on Tik­Tok of peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties. I was won­der­ing how you feel about the app being a pos­i­tive way to show­case dif­fer­ent lifestyles and very dif­fer­ent issues peo­ple deal with.

For sure. If you can do it and raise aware­ness, I think it’s cool. Peo­ple for the most part are real­ly, real­ly nice; there has been lim­it­ed nas­ti­ness in my expe­ri­ence. I’m sure that’s not the case with every­one but I have a lot of faith in Gen­er­a­tion Z and they’re doing OK in my opinion.

And just because I want to give you an oppor­tu­ni­ty to not talk about your jaw. I’m just curi­ous about what you care about or what your plans are for the future…

Yeah, well, try­ing to mon­e­tise Tik­Tok hasn’t worked out yet. I was like, I need to text Col­gate! I need to text Oral B! I need to get in touch with all of these peo­ple. I think that bird may have flown the coop though, now that the jaw has been set free. Hon­est­ly, I might get a writ­ing job. My friend who is with me in Butte, we might be doing a col­umn for Pro­tean mag­a­zine, but I’m not sure.

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