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Sara Wolverson From Rimmel London Discusses Beauty Cyberbullying And Freedom Of Expression


Cybersmile and Rimmel have been working together to encourage people to recognize and celebrate their own personal beauty while providing support to those affected. If you are affected by Beauty Cyberbullying or anything else 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.

Tell us about Rimmel’s commitment to tackle the problem of Beauty Cyberbullying. Why was it so important to you?

Make-up has always been a way for men and women, boys and girls, to express their identity. We at Rimmel, believe it is our clear purpose as a brand to inspire people to experiment and express themselves through makeup.

Our role beyond our products is to broaden the definition of beauty. A person’s individual beauty is what makes them unique, and our goal is to encourage people to be their authentic self.

But what we were seeing and hearing with the rise of social media – and even on our own platforms – was an increasing amount of negativity and criticism towards how people look and express themselves online.

Rimmel is about championing self-expression in beauty. As a brand we have always been against narrow definitions of beauty. We knew that we could no longer stand by whilst people were being shamed, judged and criticized because of their looks. A behavior that manifests itself most widely as Beauty Cyberbullying.

You undertook research around the problem of Beauty Cyberbullying, what were the findings?

To better understand the issue we undertook an extensive global consumer study amongst 11,000 young women in 10 countries.

What we discovered was truly upsetting:

  • 1 in 4 women today has experienced cyberbullying, which means we all may know someone who has been directly affected by the issue, whether bullied themselves or a parent of a child being bullied. I am sure you all agree that it is a huge number.
  • Our research also discovered that 57% of those bullied didn’t tell anyone about their experience. 67% of those bullied lost confidence in themselves as a result, which in turn led to an estimated 115 million images being deleted from social media – in the past year alone. 46% have gone on to self-harm.

Why did you choose to partner with Cybersmile?

At Rimmel raising the issue and bringing it to light was only half the battle. For us, another crucial aspect was actually doing something concrete to help tackle the issue and we set out to find a partner with the expertise and platform to help us do this. We are delighted to be partnering with The Cybersmile Foundation to help raise awareness of Beauty Cyberbullying and contribute solutions that can positively impact prejudice and discrimination.

We spoke with several different organizations but immediately felt on the same page with Cybersmile. They work to promote diversity and inclusion by building a safer, more positive digital community. The fact that their team had direct experience with Beauty Cyberbullying was also important for us as it meant that they understood the issue and were able to bring us valuable insight not only on the issue itself but also on how to best tackle it and do something concrete to help.

Why did you feel a long-term partnership was so important?

Beauty Cyberbullying is an issue that unfortunately cannot be fixed overnight, nor on the short term which is why it was extremely important for us to find a long term partner that we could work with to find sustainable solutions and make an impact.

You recently announced the launch of the #IWillNotBeDeleted campaign, can you tell us a bit more about that please?

115 million images are deleted from social media every year, because of the comments or judgments that others have posted against them. The impact of this behavior reaches beyond the screen. Now was the time to give it a voice. We worked with people who had experienced Beauty Cyberbullying and gave them their voices back through our I will not be Deleted campaign.

Our hero film featured fourteen people from around the world who had experienced Beauty Cyberbullying; beauty influencer Tess Daly who lost the use of her right hand but now uses make-up as her creative outlet and Ascia, an American-Kuwaiti entrepreneur, who is often bullied for breaking cultural beauty norms. With the help of British Soul/R&B artist Ray BLK, we captured their stories in powerful and emotive beat poetry inspired lyrics.

With help from our Rimmel Ambassadors, Rita Ora, Cara Delevingne, global influencers and an inspiring cast, we saw national and international press coverage in outlets such as BBC, Marie Claire, NY Times to name a few, as well as industry press.

Overall the campaign reached over 22m people globally. We achieved a total of $7m Earned Media Value and impacted over 6m people on Instagram, where we saw much of the Beauty Cyberbullying taking place, with 2.5m people engaging with our message and over 7m video views.

How important do you feel it is for people to feel free to explore and celebrate their unique beauty without ridicule and abuse?

Extremely important. This is what Rimmel stands for. We hope that our campaign helps men and women experiencing Beauty Cyberbullying realize they are not alone, and there is help available.

We want to champion everyone’s right to express themselves and help more people feel empowered and confident enough to stand up to Beauty Cyberbullying.

Cybersmile Assistant has recently been launched, how did it feel to be supporting the development of something so innovative and forward thinking?

With the launch of the Cybersmile Assistant, we will be able to help The Cybersmile Foundation reach and support more people who are being affected by cyberbullying. We believe a lot of people not reporting or speaking about the bullying has to do with them not knowing where and who to turn to. We truly believe that this interactive tool will really revolutionize the way Cybersmile deliver support for users worldwide. With 1 in 4 women being affected by Beauty Cyberbullying worldwide, that is nearly 1 billion women affected globally and with the scale of requests that the tool can handle, effectively this means potentially helping over 1 million people per day.

Do you have a positive mantra that you use to self-motivate or deal with negative situations?

I do…Don’t worry about the past, don’t stress about the future, live in the present & make it beautiful….

In 10 words or less, why is kindness important?

Because people will always remember how you made them feel.

We would like to say a MASSIVE thank you to Sara and all the team at Rimmel London for their ongoing commitment to a truly inclusive internet for everybody. For further information about Cybersmile and the work we do, please explore the suggestions below:

What are you doing for Stop Cyberbullying Day? Let us know by using #STOPCYBERBULLYINGDAY on social media.