On September 1st, blogger and fashionista Alexa Curtis plans on giving back to the youth with the launch of Media Impact and Navigation for Teens (MINT), a program that includes a panel of successful people who work in similar industries that will travel to various school systems to discuss topics ranging from body image to social media.
Curtis was inspired to start MINT after speaking on a panel about social media and mental health at Talkspace Clinical Conference in April.
”After the panel, I realized that there is a small amount of people discussing topics like social media and mental health openly, without feeling ashamed,” said Curtis, creator of Life in the Fashion Lane. “The stats of teens committing suicide raises daily and if I can somewhat make an impact on reducing that rate, I feel like I’m seriously changing the world,” she continued.
As a person who was severely bullied while growing up and attending public school, Curtis wished there was someone to turn to who was willing to talk about eating disorders, body issues, and other alike topics.
“I was so isolated and alone, and even my friends couldn’t help me,” she said. “Now that the internet is so huge, it’s even easier to bully people anonymously, which is quite scary.”
Aware of the strong voice she now has, Curtis wants to make a worldly change for the better.
”I’m working with an anti-bullying platform called Bridg-it, along with my MINT project, to make sure that every school is aware and fully prepared to combat and decrease the bullying that occurs in and out of school,” said the 18-year-old. “I want to be that figure for teens across the globe.”
While on the panel of MINT, Curtis will be discussing body image in the entertainment industry. As a person who has been in the fashion scene since the age of 13, she has become an expert on the topic.
“I’ve seen the girls throwing up their meals before Fashion Week shows and the girls who get rejected at every casting until they lose one more inch on their hips or waist,” said Curtis, who actually modeled at age 14 and developed an eating disorder. “It’s disgusting and even more shocking that the majority of these girls are teenagers. They haven’t even had a chance to grow into their hips, and they’re already being told to lose weight.”
In addition to MINT and Bridg-it, Curtis is working on starting a charity for children whose parents have been incarcerated. The endeavor stemmed from her father being wrongfully convicted of a terrible crime and imprisoned for four years when she was 7. Due to her mother not receiving any financial or mental help at the time, Curtis thinks there needs to be an open place where families and teens can go if they have an incarcerated family member.
”It was absolutely awful, and people are wrongfully convicted so frequently,” said Curtis. “It wasn’t until about a month ago that I finally decided to begin speaking about that part of my life in the public eye, but I realized that I could take something so negative that happened to me and help other young adults who have had parents (innocent or not) incarcerated.
The New York Post gives a more detailed version of the events leading to the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of Curtis’ father.
With MINT, Curtis isn’t trying to influence people to stop using social media. Instead, she wants people to learn how to create a stronger balance in terms of what they give themselves access to. In her opinion, it is also just as important to teach youth about the negative content that can be found online.
”You may see beautiful pictures of celebrities and models on Instagram or Facebook, but they didn’t wake up like that,” said Curtis. “Kim Kardashian isn’t a healthy influence for people to have. Her obsession with tracking every calorie, working out copious amounts of time everyday, and pushing for an unrealistic body type isn’t what people should be looking up to.”
Curtis has already begun pitching MINT to schools and the results have been more than positive. She is thrilled to finally have the chance to go into schools and start speaking with the teens and parents in September.
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