A lot of our readers and ambassadors have been asking to hear about the inspiration, values, and opinions behind Everly Mag. Our creator, Katherine, had a discussion with the blog Gorg Mag about insecurity, bullying, social media, and positivity.
If you didn’t get a chance to check out the interview yet, read the full interview here:
Interview with Everly Mag!
Katherine is the founder of Everly Mag, a media brand for tweens and teens.
What inspired Everly Mag and how did the brand get started?
Started in January 2018, Everly was created to connect, empower, and inspire young readers in a safe and authentic community. On the Everly blog, you’ll find interviews with teen and tween role models, from actors to influencers, and helpful articles about how to become more confident and spread positivity on and off social media.
Our motto is #beEVERLYyou – be kind to yourself and others, be genuine, and follow your passions. Our Everly Ambassador program, which now has over 300 members, connects tweens and teens around the world in a kind and supportive environment.
Katherine, who has an education and writing background, hopes that Everly Mag will validate the everyday struggles of teens on social media, educate readers on the thoughts, hopes, and insecurities of today’s young people, and bring tweens and teens together around a positive message. This is just the beginning of the Everly journey – join us at everlymag.com, on Instagram @everlymag, and on Twitter @everlymagblog.
What does the phrase “be yourself” mean to you?
Katherine: It’s a combination of self-awareness and vulnerability. Being yourself means that you’ve taken the time and thought to figure out who you are, not who other people expect you to be. The vulnerability piece comes when you’ve decided to share yourself with the world – whether it’s a passion you’re pursuing, something you’ve created, a unique part of your personality, or anything that makes you feel truly you (even if it’s a little scary to put yourself out there).
Ask yourself these questions: How do I describe myself? What makes me happiest? When do I feel most like myself? Then, the second part: How do the people in my life describe me? What do others expect from me? What makes me feel stressed and overwhelmed? If you don’t have the answers yet, that’s okay! Just keep living your life. If you do have the answers, try to find ways that your day-to-day life can fulfill who you truly are and what makes you happy, even if that comes into conflict with what is expected of you and what may “belong.” It isn’t easy to figure out who you are and what you want, especially as a teenager, and you may change along the way. That’s not being hypocritical – it’s perfectly normal. It’s pretty exciting that you have your whole life to get to know yourself as you change, find passions, and grow.
How could people prevent bullying?
Katherine: When I think about bullying, I always go back to a quote from R.J. Palacio’s incredible novel Wonder: “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” Especially on social media, it’s easy to say hurtful things to a screen. You can’t see the person’s face or reaction, and you may think the person won’t ever see it. No matter what, it’s important to think about how the recipient will feel before you gossip or post. Teachers and parents should be talking with kids and teens about how to practice empathy – to put yourself in another person’s shoes and consider how they are feeling.
I also advocate for self-care and resilience as a way of preventing bullying. Often, people are cruel because they are struggling with insecurity, loneliness, or anger. It’s important to reach out to these “bullies” instead of just labeling them as terrible people, particularly when they are in elementary or middle school. Sometimes, people are mean because they don’t know how else to express their feelings. If they are given empathy, help, and a chance at forgiveness, many of these “bullies” can grow into really kind and compassionate people. It’s important to see the nuance and complexity of each bullying incident – no two people are alike, and not every person who gossips or excludes is a bully beyond redemption.
Another aspect to consider is the ways our social culture promotes bullying. I feel very strongly that anonymous question apps like Sarahah, trends like diss tracks, exposing, confessions, and hate hours, and other seemingly innocent situations can quickly lead to cruelty. These situations can make teenagers feel absolutely powerless, because they’ve opened themselves to comments they don’t ultimately want to see or hear. I want to empower teens to feel that it’s okay to step away from these trends, especially when you have that feeling in the pit of your stomach that it just doesn’t feel good to be involved. It’s so much more worthwhile to take your time to pursue things that truly make you feel happy, even if that means logging off for a little while and being out of the loop.
I know that’s a long answer, but this is so important to me and was really part of the reason why I created the Everly Mag community. Empathy, Support, Compassion, and Kindness to yourself and others. If you’re in the moment and you can’t remember all of that, just choose kind.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give anyone?
Katherine: Be kind and show compassion to yourself and others, even when it’s hard.
Is there something simple people could do to make social media better?
Katherine: Yes! Here’s my suggestion: Take a break.
Taking a break works in multiple situations. Here’s one: Before you say (or type) something hurtful, cruel, negative, or controversial, pause for a moment. Just consider the thoughts and feelings of the person on the other end of the screen, even if that person is a celebrity, brand, or public figure. Imagine that person’s facial expressions, voice, and emotions as they read your comment. Take 10 seconds to let that sink in before you make your decision.
It also works from the other side. When you’re the person who receives that hurtful, rude, or exclusionary message, immediately put away your phone before you respond. If you can’t get off your phone, just log out of social media. Then, take 10 minutes to do something that makes you feel good – dance around your room, watch a funny YouTube clip, talk to a friend or family member, play with a pet, draw, do yoga, or even do homework. Then, after your break is over, return to whatever has happened. You may find it doesn’t really seem like such a big deal anymore, or you may find that you’re ready to craft a levelheaded response that you won’t regret. Either way, taking a break can avoid impulsivity, protect your mental health, and help you better understand yourself.
Do you think overall people need to stop comparing themselves to others?
Katherine: Absolutely. It’s easy to think that you’re not as smart, beautiful, talented, popular, or interesting as someone else, especially when we have access to such a large base of people on social media. Likes, comments, and followers become these tangible quantities by which people start to measure their worth. I can definitely relate to those nights spent scrolling through Instagram, wishing parts of my life could be more like someone else’s.
While it’s natural (and okay) to compare yourself to others, it’s never something that results in happiness, meaning, or growth. My best advice is to do what you love and you’ll start to feel like the comparisons hold less value. It’s so important to surround yourself with supportive friends (Internet and IRL), get involved in a community you enjoy, and pursue your genuine interests and passions. A real “like” comes from when you work hard on a project and see it become what you’d envisioned in your head, or when your best friend laughs at a story you’re telling. A real “follower” is a person in your community (online or off) who looks up to you and considers you a role model. Remember that you’re a person and not a product. You don’t need to construct a perfect, popular, or “liked” life – you just need to live your happiest life, even if that means you don’t share it with strangers.
Are celebrities promoting a good image?
Katherine: Through Everly Mag, I’ve had the opportunity to interview and get to know a number of teen and tween entertainers, writers, influencers, and thinkers. They are truly some of the most impressive and incredible people I’ve spoken to, and they deserve tremendous credit for putting themselves, their personalities, and their art into the world, despite outside pressure and criticism. I’m humbled by the passion, honesty, and and vulnerability of all the talent I’ve interviewed and those I have yet to interview. Kids and teens are lucky to have such a range of role models today, from singers to artists to politicians to relatable YouTubers.
I think that all types of people are considered celebrities today, which is pretty cool. Social media has allowed a diverse and talented range of people to find a voice and platform. I think that if you seek a certain type of image or role model, you’re likely to find someone in the world living that image. If you haven’t found that person, maybe that’s a sign you should become that person yourself!
Finally, how could social media become a better place?
Katherine: Social media was created for connection, not comparison. Reach out to others, spread positivity, and share yourself with the world – as much or as little as you want. Take a break before posting or responding to controversial comments. Remove yourself from situations that breed cruelty and damage confidence. Join communities that speak to you – whether you’re a soccer goalie, a Riverdale fan, or a ukelele player – there’s a community for everyone. Listen to others’ respectful opinions, even when you disagree, and respond with empathy and thoughtfulness. Cultivate sincere and meaningful relationships (on and offline) where you can truly be your weird, unique, wonderful, happiest, complex, fascinating, beautiful self!
Want to interview the Everly Mag founder for your blog or publication? Contact us by email.
Feature Image Credit: Everly Mag