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Summer Health and Safety

This Internet Celeb Is Working to End Cyberbullying

Baby Ariel is a singer, songwriter, and actress, who rose to fame through her music videos on the social media platform TikTok. We talked to her about what the life of an internet celebrity is like, and what inspired her to start the anti-bullying #Arielmovement.

You rose to fame fairly quickly. How did you cope with the influx of attention? Was it a difficult transition going from having a private life to being constantly in the spotlight? 

It was a bit confusing and strange at first — especially when school started. Everything blew up in the summer between middle school and high school, so it was completely weird showing up to a brand new school and having strangers call my name down the hallways. I couldn’t tell if they were making fun of me and I’d come home and cry. I’ve always thought of myself as a regular kid so it was difficult to get the attention.

Mostly though, it’s been positive and most people who come up to me are really nice and considerate.

Why did you start using Musical.ly? How has it impacted your life both positively and negatively? 

I started using it just as I finished eighth grade. We had a flood in our house and had to live out of suitcases in my grandparents’ house, so I had a lot of time on my hands and wanted to do something creative.

My friend showed me the app and I fell in love with it right away. Most of my experience with the app have been amazing. I’ve gotten to meet amazing people, travel to so many great places, and had wonderful opportunities.

The only negative I guess is having people say, “oh, you’re that lip-sync girl, right?!?” It’s kind of funny and I understand why they say it. But it’s also tough to have people think of me only as a lip-syncer, and then send me hate when I pursue things I’ve always loved like acting, singing, and songwriting.

With facing so much hate online, how do you stay positive and vocal about fighting bullying? 

I try and remember that if someone is sending me hate, it’s not about me — it’s about them. Any person who bullies someone else is really just super insecure, lonely, and sad. 

When did you decide to start the anti-bullying #Arielmovement? 

I first posted #Arielmovement that first summer when my musical.ly account started growing. I was getting a ton of hate online from total strangers — something I’d never experienced before. It hurt a lot at first but then I realized there must be a lot of us out there — kids just being themselves posting content and pictures, and getting bullied for no reason. So that’s when I decided to start #Arielmovement.

How do you hope to use your platform to address bullying head on? Have you seen your efforts change the conversation in regard to your own following? 

I’d just like a place where kids who are being bullied or getting hate online come together and connect in a positive way so they can be supportive of each other. 

What has been the most rewarding part of being an advocate for anti-bullying?

What I’ve loved most is seeing how positive the community is. I’ve seen my supporters become great friends through the movement and it shows me that being positive and being supportive makes a real difference.

It must be hard to be positive all the time, how do you make sure you’re taking care of your own mental health on your bad days? 

Haha! I think the most important thing is to surround yourself with good people — friends and family who truly love you and are there for you. I also journal a lot and write song lyrics — that helps. I also feed myself lots and lots of positive thoughts. And I give myself lots of hugs!

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