‘Beauty is skin deep,’ says fire accident survivor who stars in campaign against online hate

Looking at beautiful social media influencers’ Instagram pages with their thousands of followers, likes and comments you’d think they’re constantly basking in the glow of adoration from strangers.

But alongside the positive reinforcement, even the most popular social media stars will inevitably be on the receiving end of negativity.

That’s why footwear brand Ego has launched its ‘Eliminate Hate Online’ initiative, featuring two influencers who have experienced their share of social media trolls.

Sophie Lee (left) and Lala Andrew star in the ‘Eliminate Girl Hate’ campaign (Ego/PA)

“I have been a victim of both online and offline trolling, from girls in particular, and it has had a real impact on my confidence,” says model and dancer Sophie Lee, who was involved in a fire dancing accident which left her with scarring.

Lee stars alongside DJ Lala Andrew in the campaign, which launches ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8.

“Since my accident, I’ve finally accepted myself and it’s made me look at the bigger picture,” Lee continues. “I want to use my social media platforms to inspire young girls not bring them down!

“I firmly believe that beauty is skin deep and I hope that this campaign propels a positive movement amongst young people.”

Andrew, who shut down her social media accounts for a year because of the pressures she felt, says she now wants to use her platform to promote self-acceptance and kindness.

“Being part of this campaign isn’t to be accepted by girls and society as a whole, it’s to promote kindness to others and to highlight the negative affect that hate online can cause people,” she says.

“I use my social media channels to gently remind people to try and be the best versions of themselves and be comfortable in their own skin.”

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ty for dancing on friday 💖💖💖

A post shared by lala (@laureneandrew) on

Ego co-founder Adeel Fiaz believes that social media has played a part in the rise of cyberbullying but it can also be used to tackle the issue.

“We recognise that it’s a problem and we want to use our strong social media presence as a way of championing the message of being kind and supporting one another,” he says.

“Our campaign has been carefully thought out using two amazing girls who each have stories which are relatable to young women. We hope to help eliminate girl hate through our campaign and spread more of a positive and celebratory message.”

Social media savvy celebrities including Love Island’s Olivia Bowen and Zara McDermott, TOWIE star Chloe Sims and Geordie Shore’s Chloe Ferry will all be showing support for the campaign on Friday.

In another anti-bullying initiative, Rimmel has also just announced the latest step in its partnership with The Cybersmile Foundation, the launch of an online tool to provide support and advice for those struggling with a variety of issues related to online abuse.

The ‘Cybersmile Assistant’ will allow people to quickly and easily access information about issues such as anxiety, body image, eating disorders, shaming, mental health and revenge porn.

“Cybersmile Assistant is going to revolutionise the way we deliver support for internet users around the world,” says Dan Raisbeck, co-founder, The Cybersmile Foundation.

“Not only will it completely eradicate support wait times and the need to undertake lengthy online searches for reputable support organisations, the scale of requests that the product can handle effectively will also enable us to have the infrastructure in place to potentially help over one million people each day.”

The tool can be accessed via a small blue icon in corner of the the Cybersmile website homepage. Users can type or use the microphone to find answers to their questions.

Research by Rimmel shows that one in four women aged 16 to 25 have experienced cyberbullying about their looks and 65% of these have said their confidence was affected by the bullying.

From celebrity-led campaigns to practical steps like the Cybersmile Assistant, it’s encouraging to see brands and charities alike taking steps to tackle issues that affect so many people online.

- Press Association

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