Exclusive Interview With 3x World Champion Swimmer Anastasia Pagonis
As part of our global partnership with Urban Decay, we sat down with 3x world swimming champion Anastasia Pagonis to discuss life online. If you are affected by anything touched on within this article, we can help you. Visit our Help Center or click on the blue logo icon at the bottom right of the screen to open Cybersmile Assistant, our smart AI support assistant.
What is your favorite social media platform and why?
I like all of them. I think each platform has its own amazing and different audiences.
Do you think social media is a blessing or a curse?
I think it’s a blessing and it opens the world for people to learn and experience all different people and parts of the world.
Have you ever been personally targeted with online abuse?
Yes, I’m targeted several times a day, every single day.
How does it make you feel and how do you deal with it?
I’ve come to the point that I don’t let it get to me and I just block them. I literally have hundreds of thousands of people blocked. Ultimately I have to protect myself and my sanity. Often harassment just comes from other people’s insecurities.
What message would you have for someone who thinks that abuse and harassment online ‘is just a joke’?
Harassing someone online is not a joke. You have no idea what is going on in that person’s life and you have no right to judge or harass anyone. If you don’t believe or like their content, you can simply keep scrolling, but you don’t need to tear others down.
What advice would you give to somebody being bullied or abused online?
Try your best to ignore it and block them. Know that hurt people hurt people. Most people bullying don’t even have the courage to put their real name up. They just hide behind a screen. It’s hard but just ignore and block.
What would say to anybody who is anxious about pursuing their dreams for fear of ridicule and abuse?
If all else fails shut off your comments or block keywords. Never stop being who you are! I guarantee that by being who you are you are helping so many others who aren’t leaving hate and are feeling just like you are.
Do you have a positive mantra or saying that you use to motivate yourself?
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.” – Harvey Fierstein
In 10 words or less, why is kindness important?
Kindness is important because it takes so little to make such a difference.
We would like to say a HUGE thank you to Anastasia for this amazing interview and her incredible work supporting our global campaign with Urban Decay!
If you are affected by anything touched on within this article, we can help you. Visit our Help Center or click on the blue logo icon at the bottom right of the screen to open Cybersmile Assistant, our smart AI support assistant.