9 Young Celebrity Activists Reveal Their Inspiring Missions

by Taylor Ferber
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For a few hours at Inglewood's The Forum on Thursday, the noise and hate of the outside world simply didn't exist — just endless amounts of love and hope. The WE Movement took its efforts to California, providing thousands of student activists with a day of inspiration, power, and tools to further make the world a better place. Hosted by Selena Gomez, WE Day California brought together students from across the state who carry out at least one local and global endeavor to make social impact throughout the year. In a world where grown adults and world leaders are destructive and hateful, seeing these kids want to make it better was pretty powerful.

With the hope to "change me to we," WE brought social influencers and celebrities like Demi Lovato, Shay Mitchell, Laverne Cox, Alicia Keys, and more, to inspire the venue with their stories. Before the big event I hit the red carpet to speak with celebrities who came to support and who also use their platforms for positive change on a daily basis. From actors like Grey's Anatomy's Giacomo Gianniotti and Moana's Auli'i Cravalho to social influencers like Lilly Singh and Lizzie Velasquez, here's how these celebrities plan to leave a permanent mark on the world.

Lilly Singh

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"I’m really big on, if we go back to basics, togetherness. Everything on my channel, everything on my brand… is about togetherness. It’s the power of us coming together to do amazing things for the world. Going back to social media, that’s why I love my job. I have 11 million subscribers, even though we all live in different parts of the world, we all come together. Whether it’s for causes like GirlLove or the WE Movement. I just want people to know there is value in working together because great things can happen."

Giacomo Gianniotti

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Gianniotti says he wants to be remembered as, "someone who was positive and tried to make an impact. Someone who did great art, but used his platform to create change. I work very hard as an artist to achieve that, which is very personally and creatively satisfying. But it grants me a level of success where I have a platform where people listen and care about what I say and I can turn that into real change. It’s growing. When I went into non profit My Friends Place, I raised $15,000 and this year I had a bigger following and raised $27,000 so these things go hand-in-hand."

Auli'i Cravalho

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Cravalho, who recently voiced the titular character in Disney's animated Moana, says: "It’s OK to learn. I know that might sound contradictory because a mark is something that’s permanent. However, I want people to know it’s OK to make mistakes. It’s fine to pencil things in and not write it in sharpie. And if we do write it in sharpie, honey, there’s white out. You can always learn and rewrite your story."

Laurie Hernandez

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"My mom always told me we were put in this world to help other people and to be kind to each other. I think that’s really important. We should want to be kind and inspire others and just be able to motivate them to start something new. Something as simple as giving someone else a compliment or helping those who really need it."

Jojo Siwa

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"I want to end bullying. If I die and I ended bullying, I would be the happiest person ever. It’s a really hard thing to accomplish. I’m big on social media, so I love to inspire people on there. Just be yourself and be confident, kind, say no to the bullies. My song ‘Boomerang’ is all about coming back, coming back from the hate. It’s all in my message."

Skylar Stecker

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"I’m myself. One thing I always believe in is just being who you are. Don’t let other people influence you to do something you don’t want to do. I definitely want to, with my music, influence people to do that. I just want my music to be a release to people — if they want to listen to have fun, or feel inspired to do something, and [feel] motivated. I’m so grateful I’ve had the chance to have been able to do that so far. I just want to leave knowing I did what I wanted to do and I have no regrets."

Jenna Ortega

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"Spread positivity. I feel now, with social media, everyone’s getting so negative. It’s easy to hide behind a screen and be mean to someone and show no emotion. But I think people need to remember that there is somebody else on the other side of that screen. The world is already a cruel place, so why not spread positivity and lift each other up? We’re all humans, we’re all the same, we go through the same things. I’m nice to anyone I meet. That is the most important thing because you never know if you’ll see that person ever again."

Lizzie Velasquez

"Legacy. I’m hoping that my legacy, once I’m not here anymore, is for people knowing you’re enough just being you, there’s a light on the other side of being bullied, we all have this inner light inside of us and the world is waiting to see it. Once you accept who you are as a person, you’re gonna be surprised at how incredible you can be."

Monique Coleman

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"I want to know that I used the full width of my talents and gave them away. There’s a quote that Wayne Dyer says, ‘Don’t die with your music still in you.’ I don’t want to leave this planet without having given everything that I can away."

Wow, with all of this positivity I think I'll feel inspired for days.