Actress and activist Skai Jackson is a positive force and role model in every way. The 18-year-old rose to fame after starring in multiple Disney Channel series — and she’s had major success in standing up for what she believes in. Her first book, Reach for the Skai: How to Inspire, Empower, and Clapback (2019), shares her takes on self-acceptance and girl empowerment. We asked for her advice on feeling empowered and dealing with bullying.
Having struggled with bullying first-hand, what’s your advice for other teens out there who have been bullied by their peers?
The first thing I want to say is: it will get better. My advice is to never be shy about telling a friend or an adult about what’s going on. You might be nervous, but don’t be — your friends and family are there to help you.
As a woman in the spotlight, how did you overcome pressures and negative messages from cyberbullies?
I realized that nobody who says negative things about me on the internet knows the real me and I have so many other things to worry about. The things they say to me on the internet, they wouldn’t say to my face. I have so many more supporters than haters and it’s important to remember that.
Why do you think it’s important to empower girls and young women around the world to reach their potential?
I think it’s just important to support everyone, period. We can go so much further when we all come together and we can do amazing things. Positivity makes everything great.
What’s your advice for girls who are feeling discouraged with themselves?
I would tell any girl that they’re beautiful no matter what anyone says, and you don’t have to look like anyone else to please society. There’s only one you and you should be the greatest YOU can be.
Why is it important to foster gender equality in the entertainment industry?
A lot of women don’t get the same opportunities that men do in the industry and I think it’s so important that we continue to stress that we deserve what they get. We don’t do any less work than they do, and sometimes we work harder. Our gender shouldn’t define us.