The 'Hairspray' actress discusses her 'Love is Louder' campaign to help end bullying.
- Sarah Polonsky, BettyConfidential.com
When Courtney Knowles, Director of the Jed Foundation received a text from actress Brittany Snow saying. "Isn't there something we can do?" in reaction to the recent teen suicides involving bullying and harassment, it was the beginning of an important new movement. 24 hours later the two came up with the idea Love is Louder and 48 hours after that initial text, the movement was launched with MTV.
Now hundreds of thousands of people have tweeted it out or visited the campaign's site and Facebook page, crowds of students have chanted the phrase and hundreds of people have uploaded pics with "Love is Louder" on their hands, just like Brittany did at a teen event the night the campaign launched. Celebrities including P!nk, Vanessa Hudgens, Drake, Trey Songz, and Kellan Lutz have contributed their voices with videos.
Brittany Snow sat down with BettyConfidnetial to chat about the Love is Louder movement and her own harrowing tale of being bullied.
What is the Love is Louder Movement?
Love is Louder is a movement I started with my friend Courtney Knowles from The Jed Foundation after the suicide that happened in September. I've always been passionate about this topic and have worked with her foundation for years. After the suicide, I called Courtney to see if there was anything I could do to help. We decided to start a movement of support and understanding and make it a place where people could go to render hope. It's a place for people to go who have opinions or need support regarding this topic. We decided to have people submit videos. Whether you're a celebrity, gay or straight, old or young, it's a place for anybody because everyone has gone through bullying before and we want people to know that they are not alone.
What celebrities have gotten involved?
It started out where I asked a couple of my friends to do some videos and it really caught on. We've had videos from Drake, P!nk, Vanessa Hudgens, Vinny and Snooki from Jersey Shore-we've had over 50 videos from celebrities. We've been tweeted out by people form Perez Hilton to Joe Jonas. We've had over 100,000 tweets. 25,000 people have linked to us on Facebook. It's become crazy. We get pictures sent to us daily from lots of celebrities.
What is your ultimate goal of the movement?
We want to get the word out there that love is louder than anything else. Folks need to know that they are not alone and there are people out there that will support them. We're now trying to shape it into something that is more solid that can be incorporated into schools and communities. We've created webisodes that have to do with four components of understanding yourself, understanding other people, understanding bullies and then standing up to bullies. There are arts and crafts projects you can do, which you can take away from school and remember. We are also trying to do a documentary about how Love is Louder was created and how it's helped people. Urban Outfitters has a Love is Louder t-shirt coming out. We also have jewelry line. We ultimately want more people to be aware of it.
Were you a victim of bullying?
Yes. I started initially with The Jed Foundation because of my personal struggle with depression and bullying. When I was in middle school and high school a bully would tell me ways to kill myself everyday. The bully would put mean things on flyers and hit me and just taunt me in every way. I had no friends. Then, on top of all that, one of my good friend committed suicide because of this bully. It was a really tough time in middle school and high school and it caused me to have other struggles later on. I think that's what people don't understand. It's really important that we understand that how we treat each other can affect who you are later on.
What's your opinion about all of the cyber-bullying taking place right now?
It's terrible. Bullying in general is a weak thing, but cyber bullying is sad. I've gone through a lot of it too. Being in the entertainment business you have to deal with it on a daily basis. People with blogs and in chat rooms are making fun of everyone. They think actors don't get hurt, but they do. I've seen a lot of my friends get hurt. It really does affect you and it's horrible because you don't know who the person is on the other side. It's something that really needs to change now that the Internet is so prevalent in our lives.
How did it feel to play the bully Amber Von Tussle in Hairspray?
It was weird because I loved Nikki Blonsky so much and we were really close. I always commit myself to my characters when the camera comes on and stay professional. I've played bullies a lot. It is kind of fun to play the bad person because it's the complete opposite of who I am in real life. At the same time, I think that's why I need to do stuff like that. It's just a character and that stuff needs to be shown. Luckily in the things that I've done the bully never wins.
Sarah Polonsky is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.To read more from BettyConfidential: