Mediaplanet caught up with Spencer Barbosa, actress and content creator, to discuss how social media is influencing the self-esteem of youth today.
Tell us about your experience growing up in the entertainment industry?
Growing up on social media and in the entertainment industry has definitely made me the person I am today. At such a young age, I received so much rejection (from auditions and jobs) and hate (from trolls online). But it made me more confident, and now I’ve learned that rejection is just redirection. However, it’s so much fun to be living your dream at such a young age and goofing around on set.
What does youth empowerment mean to you, and what has helped you feel empowered throughout your media career?
I’m passionate about youth empowerment and promoting self-love and motivation. I follow creators that empower me (such as @mikaylanogueira) so that I can leave being on my phone feeling motivated rather than unsatisfied. Every kid in my generation always dreamed of being like Hannah Montana and being on Disney. Watching shows like that growing up just fueled my inner fire.
Do you feel that social media affects one’s perception of body image? Why is this an important issue for youth?
Social media definitely ruins one’s perception of body image. Over the past few years, we’ve made it normal to scroll on our phones for hours, seeing hundreds of other people’s bodies, faces, and lives. It’s so hard for people — let alone young people — to try not to compare their bodies to someone else’s. I’ve tried to teach young people that it’s unfair for them to compare their bodies to someone else’s perfectly-posed body.
What motivated you to advocate for body positivity on social media platforms?
I’ve always wanted to become the person I didn’t have — but really needed — when I was younger. I saw that “reality,” “body image,” “self-love,” and “embracing your flaws” videos were missing on the internet, so I filled that gap myself.
What advice can you share with others struggling with body image or low self-esteem?
Treat yourself like someone you love. We often talk negatively about ourselves and treat ourselves terribly, but you need to start treating yourself like someone you love. For example, you wouldn’t say the mean things you say to yourself to your best friend.