Maybe we didn’t know Imogen Anthony as well as we thought. Known for her shocking hair, outrageous outfits and lively social media accounts, she’s surprised us once again by announcing she’ll be supporting the Reword campaign against cyber bullying. “There’s no such thing as freedom of speech if it is unwarranted hate and is at the detriment of someone else’s feelings. Be a human and think about it,” Imogen says.
So, why is she speaking out now, how hard is it managing your social media when you’re in the public eye – and why is she so passionate about cyber bullying?
“What a lot of you don’t know about me is that I was the subject of heavy bullying in primary school and again as late as high school. I bet a lot of you are saying “who wasn’t” right? Truth be known, bullying is as common as dirt.
I left school and moved on with my life, thinking that was finally behind me and was excited to work on becoming the person I wanted to be.
My confidence came back and I taught myself through life experiences how to stick up for myself. With that, I was able to help others. In the middle of my high school years, social media had just started with things like Bebo and MySpace. This is where it began for our generation. Nothing was filtered or monitored. A slight drama at school could lead to a tidal wave of social media hate and reckless, hateful comments. Many young people fell victim to this. Now, almost ten years later, we have things like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To a certain degree these are monitored, but to a certain degree they are not.
Contrary to popular belief, I found myself being in the public eye accidentally. I have been in a relationship with a well-known Australian celebrity [Kyle Sandilands] for five years now. At first I didn’t have social media due to my anxiety about being in the public eye.
One day, I started an Instagram account after seeing how a friend could share parts of her life and creativity in a single snapshot. I grew a fond love for the world of Instagram and saw a side of it where people could celebrate their uniqueness. From there I started a Twitter account and a Facebook page. Not long after that, I had a number of similar named, fake accounts on every social media platform constantly troll me – before the ‘internet troll’ term existed. This occurred for almost, not kidding, two years. For two whole years someone had a personal vendetta against me and my life and I could never understand why.
My sister Freya & I ????????????✨ #sisterlove #strawberryblonde #angel A photo posted by IℳO₲E№ ☥ ▲N₮HʘNϔ (@imogen_anthony) on Feb 13, 2016 at 10:04pm PST
I deleted Facebook and put all my accounts on private. But every time I would block and report an account, a new one was made just as quickly. They called me all kinds of names, profanities, there were personal attacks on things I had posted, like my family, one being my sister who was nine at the time.
“Bullshit,” I thought.
I’m not so much hurt by it anymore, although on the odd occasion personal things strike a chord. Maybe a physical insecurity I already had. But now, I’m more hurt by the fact that people can feel so awful in themselves that they feel they can do that to someone not realising the consequences.
Not everyone has a thick skin and it has beaten some unfortunately, one being a friend of mine in the public eye.
I AM only human and come from a normal, coastal/country background. As I said, this life was accidental for me so therefore I can only respond in a way I know how, as if I wasn’t in the public eye. But now I see the reach that I have with people and how much they admire my message. It’s very hard to comprehend sometimes and obviously a lot of other’s find it hard to comprehend also based on society stigmas.
People would ask, “Why do you bother? Why do you feel the need to respond?”
Australian kids on what bullying means to them (post continues after video):
Sometimes, a little shock of common sense to someone’s system is enough to make it stop. Sometimes it isn’t, so therefore you let those birds fly.
You can’t fight and win every battle. But, I’m happy with myself and what I stand for, and that’s all that matters.
I just want other people to know that they are not alone and there are warriors out there that are willing to fight for them.
WE ARE HERE FOR YOU.
One thing I’ve always said, there’s NO SUCH THING as freedom of speech if it is unwarranted hate and is at the detriment of someone else’s feelings.
Be a human, think about it.
I will NEVER let someone make me feel bad about being myself ever again, especially from behind a computer or phone screen!
THIS is why I want to be part of ‘Reword’ and this is why you should be too.
Who’s with me?”
These are Imogen’s words as told to Corrine Barraclough.
Reword is a tool that helps prevent online bullying behaviour by identifying insulting statements in real time with a red line, like a spell checker. It doesn’t censor but it prompts you to make a better choice. www.reword.it. On social media use #REWORD #REWORDIT
You’ll find Imogen on social media here – haters not tolerated: