Urban Decay and the Cybersmile Foundation Introduce a New Campaign

Online bullying, a constant issue that needs attention

In partnership with The Cybersmile Foundation, Urban Decay Cosmetics has launched a new campaign called “WORDS HURT IRL” starring “Tall Girl” actor/dancer Ava Michelle. This is the latest initiative from the brand in its pledge to educate and inspire 500,000 digital citizens, bring increased awareness about the personal toll of online bullying and promote digital wellbeing. Read more about this new campaign.


“WORDS HURT IRL” features a series of videos starring Ava Michelle, a firsthand victim of bullying, both in real life and online. The videos share an impactful synopsis of her personal story and inspire viewers to “stop giving hateful words power” and to “cancel online hate together.” Michelle’s career debuted as a star on “Dance Moms”, where she was dismissed from the show as too tall, given her 6’2” stature. She went on to find success on “So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation,” and as the lead actor on Netflix’s hit show, “Tall Girl” and its sequel, “Tall Girl 2.”

“I feel that one of the best things that you can do with the hardships you have faced, is to truly share those experiences with others and be able to learn and grow together. We make assumptions that we are alone in what we are going through, but it’s so important to know that we aren’t and it’s going to be ok. I am so thankful to Urban Decay for asking me to be a part of such a wonderful project and for always being a company that wants to do good. I am beyond proud of what we made!”

Ava Michelle, Actress

A fight to ensure that social media offers a welcoming, inclusive, and safe space for all

Urban Decay is and has always been about embracing your true self, diversity, and inclusion, aiming to give everyone a path to create their own beauty. Social media has enabled the brand to grow and expand its communications, spreading its positive messaging to many people. But with the growth of social media, Urban Decay also noticed the rise of a fringe element of bullying, trolling, and discrimination.

As a leading digital marketer in the beauty industry, signing up to combat cyberbullying was a natural choice for Urban Decay. Last year Urban Decay inaugurated a three-year partnership with The Cybersmile Foundation by launching a global initiative called “Online Bullying Hurts IRL” (In Real Life). The aim was to recognize the tangible negative impacts of social media posts that range from seemingly innocent teasing to severe, obvious bullying.


of adults under 25 have been bullied online


of adults under 25 are afraid to express who they are due to the fear of online bullying

A three-year partnership to educate about the impacts of online bullying

Through the partnership with The Cybersmile Foundation, one of the world’s leading anti-cyberbullying nonprofit organizations, with a commitment to promoting kindness, diversity, and inclusiveness online, Urban Decay can educate its audience and employees about the impacts of online bullying and how to identify, prevent, and alleviate any instances they witness.

Urban Decay’s collaboration with The Cybersmile Foundation is designed to develop education and support resources for important issues associated with cyberbullying and mental health. The first element premiered in February 2022 with six interactive Urban Decay x Cybersmile Education Modules and an accompanying digital changemaker toolkit, available for free. With the goal of reaching 500,000 people online, the program walks users through simple, impactful materials on everything from “Allyship on Social Media” to “Dealing With Online Bullying” to “Becoming a Changemaker.”

The partnership also features a three-part $300,000 donation from Urban Decay to The Cybersmile Foundation, to be used towards furthering its work and efforts in the fight against cyberbullying.

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