is a change maker who started an incredible online movement: WeStopHate.
dedicated to raising self-esteem in teens (teen-esteem) through various social media platforms. It’s more than just an anti-bullying program, it’s a call-to-action to stop hate:
stop hating on yourself, stop hating on others, stop letting others hate on you.
18,553 Subscribers on YouTube…
…with over 900,000 Video Views
17,520 Facebook Fans
6,042 Twitter Followers
A talk with the GIRL behind WESTOPHATE…
How’d it start, Emily-Anne? What was the idea?
It was just the idea of my friends coming together to make videos on YouTube. It was more about the smaller community of people — like either people I know or friends of people I know — making videos.
Was the idea at that time to have celebrity YouTube people involved?
Yeah, that was always a part of it. A big motivation for me was how I had people in my network who had a lot of traffic already. So they were my resources.
Did you have any kind of strategy?
My main guideline was just that the videos should be fun; they shouldn’t be super depressing. And that mainly you tell what your personal story is.
Because I’m a big believer in personal story. I’m not an expert at anti-bullying and the people who make the videos for WSH aren’t either. But we’re all experts at our own story and what we’ve taken away from our experiences.
It was simple in the sense that you just tell your story, you tell what you want to share with other teens.
Tell me about the WSH wristbands. Because they are VERY popular.
Before we had any videos uploaded I’d bought the wristbands. And the reason I did that is because I thought it would legitimize WSH. Kids were always making these YouTube channels, but it was pretty uncommon for a young person to put money into it. So for me it made it, “This is something I really want to pursue.”
It wasn’t really so much to make money. Like I was surprised by how many we sold. It was more to be able to give them to people so people could wear them when they make their videos.
Just to show that we were legitimate was really what they were about in the beginning.
What are your networking practices?
Networking for me is more about like whether or not I think someone is “cool”. Not “cool” like gangster, but I really admire them and aspire to be like them. Or maybe not aspire to be everything like them, but certain elements that I’m like, “Wow, that’s really great, I want to emulate that.”
Who were your key partners, your biggest helpers?
Definitely like my YouTube friends who were successful, they were a big part in the beginning. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to have a lot of people know about the channel. And then for the behind-the-scenes aspect of running it definitely like you and Jess Weiner and then gradually I got Seth Matlins. People who understood my vision were my biggest helpers and mentors.
You’ve been recognized by big people (Lady Gaga) and organizations (TeenNick, MTV, Forbes). What do you think is behind THAT coming about?
I think a lot of that has to do with time and place. I think the fact that I was young. I think the fact that bullying is so popular right now. I don’t know if ‘luck’ is the word, but more like ‘timing’. Because there are so many young people I know who are doing crazy amazing projects and don’t get nearly as much recognition, so I think that it was circumstantial. Not all of it, but I think that the immensity of the recognition that I’ve gotten has to do with circumstances.
Has creating WSH changed you?
Oh my God, it’s changed me in about a million ways. I think that it gave me a lot of confidence. Just like take pride in what I was doing. So I think the more successful it was and the more people latched onto it, that changed me as far as thinking, “Oh, I can run something successful.”
If someone had a really good idea for how to bring about “social change” and they came to you for advice, what would you tell them?
I suggest that they START. I think nothing is perfect in the beginning, but if you start you can learn along the way and then get better. Just going for it and starting what you want to do is a REALLY big part. Because the people who believe in the cause, they’ll latch onto it.