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Exclusive Interview with Tall Girl Actress Ava Michelle

Following our recent 'Words Hurt IRL' campaign as part of our global partnership with Urban Decay, we caught up with Netflix's Tall Girl actress Ava Michelle to discuss all aspects of life online. If you are affected by anything touched on within this article, follow the links to our various support services or click on the blue logo icon at the bottom right of the screen to start using Cybersmile Assistant, our smart AI support assistant.

What is your favorite social media platform and why?

I would say Instagram. I really love the community I’ve created on the platform and love being able to talk and interact with everyone.

Do you think social media is a blessing or a curse?

I think it is both. It is a blessing in which we can learn, educate ourselves and each other, bring awareness to many topics and share passions with people across the world. I think it’s a curse in which it has become a space that isn’t real. It is the highlight reel of anyone’s life so we feel we can’t share our true lives or selves without being judged or receiving hate.

Have you ever been personally targeted with online abuse?

Yes, I have. My appearance and ability has been torn apart on social media starting around age 11.

How did/does it make you feel and how do you deal with it then/now?

It was really hard. Especially as a young girl trying to figure out why strangers would say such terrible things about you. I learned to lean on those who love me and support me for who I am. And the most important thing I learned was to love myself for exactly who I am. With that foundation set, it’s hard for anyone to break through it now.

What message would you have for someone who thinks that abuse and harassment online ‘is just a joke’?

I would say that no a joke never comes with the sacrifice of making someone else feel bad about themselves. Joking about someone in a negative way, is still bullying.

What advice would you give to somebody being bullied or abused online?

I would tell them to lean on those around you who love you. You are not alone in this and those words that are being said don’t define you. Know when to get off of social media, and go do something that makes you happy.

What would say to anybody who is anxious about pursuing their dreams for fear of ridicule and abuse?

I would say no matter what you do, you will never make everyone happy. Don’t stop your happiness in fear that someone will try to take it from you, you are worth more than that.

Do you have a positive mantra or saying that you use to motivate yourself?

I do a lot of I Am affirmations. They change everyday… I am loved. I am strong. I am worthy. I am supported. etc.

In 10 words or less, why is kindness important?

Kindness is love, and love is our human nature.

We would like to say a HUGE thank you to Ava for this amazing interview and her incredible work supporting our global campaign with Urban Decay! To learn more about Cybersmile and the work we do, please explore the recommendations below:

How amazing is Ava?!! Let us know your thoughts by contacting us or tweet us @CybersmileHQ.