Hi! I'm ZOE
I'm 14 years old
What was your favourite part of filming Embrace Kids?
My favourite part of filming ‘Embrace Kids’ was making new friends on set. I had so much fun meeting new people and being in an atmosphere that was so positive, supportive and inspiring.
What do you like most about yourself right now?
Something that I like most about myself is that I will stand up for myself and others when I see things that are unfair. I think this is part of becoming more confident and finding my voice and I am so grateful that I really back myself now. Another example is that I have a strong sense now of how I want to dress. At one point, I was trying to fit in by looking the same as everyone else. It is exhausting trying to keep up with that and also, what is the point? So I love how I now have the confidence to wear what I want and not care about blending in. It’s very empowering and much more fun.
What makes you unique?
Something that makes me unique is that I am bright and energetic but also calm, kind and empathetic – people always come to me with their problems. I am also unique because I am Asian and adopted which is cool because it is not like everyone else.
What is one piece of advice you would give to adults?
One piece of advice I would give to adults is if kids see adults pretending to be something they are not to get approval or putting themselves down for not being good enough, then that’s what we think we should do. We get that same kind of message all the time at school and elsewhere that if you’re not perfect, it’s not acceptable. We get told to give things a go and to not be afraid to make mistakes but then we’re graded and judged against a standard of perfection. It’s hardly ever the learning process that is celebrated, just the end mark or result. This is not the way to get kids to be brave and creative and take risks and grow. It’s really contradictory and it’s not good for kids or adults.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I have a superpower; I make people happy.
What are some challenges you have now as a teenager that you didn’t have to worry about when you were younger?
A challenge I had as a teenager that I didn’t have when I was younger is dealing with the pressure to look “pretty” and be “that girl” who is skinny and perfect. I remember when I did not care how I looked but when I reached my teenage years that changed. Girls would comment on people’s looks, being critical, for example, nasty things were said to me about being Asian. I started to feel sad about how I looked and no teenager should feel this way. I don’t feel like this anymore but I am careful to watch positive content and hang with people who are kind to others and feel good about themselves. I love my friends because we all celebrate the things that make us special and don’t get envious or put each other down.
What would you like to see more of in movies and social media etc?
I would love to see more diversity in movies and on TV. It’s great that there is more on-screen diversity than there was even a few years ago, but it could still be a lot better. When I watch shows, I want to see the real world reflected. I would also love to see more variety in Influencers on social media. There are so many skinny girls talking about their makeup routine and things like that and that’s ok so I’m not criticising them BUT how great would it be if we could get the message out that if it’s making you feel bad, change who you follow. Change whose profile you click on and what you interact with. It makes SUCH a difference. It would be so great for people to fill their feeds with content that makes them feel good.
How do you clear your mind if feeling overwhelmed?
If I feel overwhelmed, usually I clear my mind by sitting in a dark room and listening to music or I find scenes on the internet and act them out because it helps me shift my perspective. I also love dancing and I find movement always energises me and makes me feel better. I also love hanging with my dogs and friends.
What is your favourite thing to do with your friends?
My favourite thing to do with friends is have a good chat and joke around. I love playing fun games and going on mini-adventures. My all-time dream is to travel with a few friends and have a bonfire and camp out (so like school camp but with no adults!).
How could the world be more inclusive and accepting of each other?
I think the world could be more inclusive and accepting of each other by not being afraid of difference, but I think this is easy to say and hard to do because you have to have curiosity and empathy to have an open mind. What Taryn and her team is doing is helping in a big way with that. The more kids and adults who watch Embrace Kids and really think about its messages, the more they might see that despite our differences, we all have hopes, dreams and fears; we all love and lose and struggle and strive; and deep down, we all just want to be validated for who we are, our own unique self. I want to thank Taryn and her team for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this project – it has helped give me the courage to tread my own path and be true to myself.