MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 19-year-old YouTube sensation is using her story about being bullied to empower others.
Bethany Mota has nearly 10 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, where she posts video blogs about a variety of issues that impact young people.
She spoke at Mall of America on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s Unity Day.
In 2006, PACER founded National Bullying Prevention Month, which is held annually in October.
Unity Day helps encourage community members — including schools, parents and teens — to raise awareness about bullying prevention while wearing orange.
Before she talked to millions of fans via video blog, Mota was a shy kid from a small California town who felt completely alone.
“Physical appearance, mainly, that’s what people go to is how you look on the outside,” Mota said.
Mota said she was bullied by classmates online when she was 12 years old.
“I let it affect my confidence, I let it affect my happiness, I felt like no one understood what I was going through,” Mota said.
She took the power back from bullies, creating videos to give advice about everything from bullying to beauty.
Mota has traveled the world and gained millions of fans over the past six years.
In 2014, Mota was named among TIME Magazine’s most influential teens.
“The audience really appreciates authenticity, they just want to know who you are,” Mota said.
Mota knows she can show young people going through tough times that they are not alone.
According to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, one of every four students is bullied.
In 2014, Minnesota adopted a more lengthy and detailed anti-bullying law for schools.
Bethany knows that while popularity grows around bullying prevention in many states, so do the ways people can target each other online.
“Cyberbullying is just so easy, because it is anonymous,” Mota said.
Mota said she hopes her videos and speaking engagements can help keep the conversation going about bullying prevention.
People are encouraged to wear orange on Wednesday for Unity Day.