Cool Girl: Emily-Anne Rigel, 16, of WeStopHate

WeStopHate is a video community on YouTube that spreads the message of positivity and "teen-esteem." Founded by Emily-Anne Rigel, 16, WeStopHate features videos made by teens about why -- despite their flaws, zits and imperfections -- they're still different, special and awesome. I Heart Daily: What inspired you to start WeStopHate? Emily-Anne Rigel: Standing out and being different instead of trying to be “normal” and fit in has always been important to me. Having noticed that there were many young people without that same sense of self-worth, I developed a passion for helping them see how great it feels to be true to themselves.

IHD: How did you come up with the phrase "teen-esteem"? ER: I thought "teen-esteem" was fun, hip, and less intimidating than “self-esteem.” Additionally, I loved that we could create the definition of  “teen-esteem” ourselves! We define it as being proud to stand out in a crowd and having the confidence to stand up for yourself and your beliefs.

IHD: How do you overcome your own personal insecurities? ER: I try not to take things too personally because my insecurities were rooted in my fear of what others would think about me. Also, I make sure to surround myself with people who are positive and supportive.

IHD: What are your future plans for WeStopHate? ER: In addition to spreading “teen-esteem” through our YouTube videos, one of our main goals is to create an online place for the WeStopHate community to interact with and learn from each other. We are working on building a website with a large collection of teen-esteem resources that will motivate and inspire the WeStopHate community.

IHD: Can you comment on the recent teen suicides in the news? What would you want to say to teens who are going through a difficult time? ER: I am deeply saddened by the recent suicides and wholeheartedly support all efforts to limit this from ever happening again. To reach out to teens struggling with this issue, WeStopHate featured a transgendered teen in the LGBT community a few weeks ago. My advice is to watch this video because I believe teens struggling with this issue can relate what this YouTuber had to say [see video below, and comment on youtube for a chance to win a WeStopHate wristband].


PS-Today is also Love Your Body Day!