Anti-bullying Advocate, Actress, and Bullies Keep Out supporter Hayley Gripp
Hayley Gripp is a force to be reckoned with in the anti-bullying world. She is a MAJOR advocate and ambassador in the anti-bullying world. Her advocacy resume is beyond impressive. Beyond what she does for such a great cause, she is also an actress, fashion model, and a jewelry designer. Hayley has had numerous roles in commercial, television, and movies. She can been in 8 commercials and has had roles in CSI, Supreme Justice, Lifetime TV Series “Killer Kids”, Hallmark Movie Classics, and much more. You can see a full list of her accomplishments on www.imdb.com or her website.
Hayley lives in Los Angeles; however, she regularly tours and speaks at anti-bullying events all over the country to raise awareness. She recently appeared at the Red Carpet event “The First Annual No Bull Music Showcase” for a non-profit called The Great American NO BULL Challenge. Hayley also speaks on Tourette syndrome.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Hayley and I can tell you that she is an absolute pleasure. I felt as if I was talking to myself when it comes to advocacy and anti-bullying or any form of hate as we had a great deal in common on how we approach the issue. She is truly one of those beautiful souls you want to connect with.
Please enjoy getting to know Hayley as much as I did.
Dana Jacoviello: Tell me about why you decided to become such a major anti-bullying advocate, what your major plans are for your advocacy, and why you decided to support Bullies Keep Out?
Hayley Grip: I was driven to become a HUGE anti-bully advocate due to my own struggle with being bullied. I was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome at age ten, and the tics (un-controllable sudden or rapid motor or vocal involvements) were horrible. In middle school my teacher and peers bullied me. My teacher actually encouraged the kids to bully me. As an anti-bully advocate, I have acted in a few anti-bullying PSA’s, written for anti-bullying blogs, shared my story on anti-bullying radio stations, and when I’m not on set, I travel around the country giving motivational speeches. I have also done some anti-bullying collaboration with the rock band “Galvanized Souls”, girl group “Gifted Nations”, and Pop Singer “Lexi Noel” of LexiMusic411.
I only surround myself with positive people and these are all close friends of mine who are also HUGE anti-bully advocates. I decided to support BKO because I loved the support it generates. I originally found yours on twitter, and the supportive and positive tweet that BKO were tweeting was the first thing that caught my attention. After I did some research, I was 100% behind the mission as well.
DJ: Where does your motivation and inspiration come from?
HG: The motivation that drives me as an anti-bully advocate is the invisible scars I carry from being bullied. Every victim who has been bullies carries them. But instead of drowning in my sorrows, I chose to rise up above the bullies. To give a voice to those who can no longer find their own, and to do my best in eliminating hate.
DJ: What other causes are important to you?
HG: I am also a huge supporter of a local animal shelter in Los Angeles called “The San Gabriel Valley Humane Society”. I have adopted dogs and cats from there as well as raised money for them and hosted a few donation drives for supplies they needed. They are a GREAT animal shelter to adopt from, but I encourage anybody to adopt from any animal shelter! I am also a strong supporter of “The National Tourette Syndrome Association”, because they have given me a lot of support and resources in dealing with my Tourette syndrome over the years. I am even “Southern California’s Youth Ambassador for Tourette syndrome, and I have lobbied in DC as well as educated others across California on Tourette syndrome. I will be volunteering as a camp Counselor in July at a camp for children with Tourette syndrome as well.
DJ: Let’s talk about your acting roles. Do you prefer specific roles and what is your dream role?
HG: Well as a huge anti-bully advocate and actress, I have accumulated a small fan base. This mainly consists of females ages 6-16. I try to be a role model for them, and therefore choose to not portray provocative or seductive characters. My dream role is to play a character that has Tourette syndrome, so I can play it positively and accurately. The media tends to portray people with Tourette’s negatively, and I hope to change that one day!
DJ: How do you feel about the cyber bullying situation? Have you ever had to deal with it yourself or any of your friends?
HG: In all honesty, I was mainly bullied in 7th and 8th grade, and I did not have Facebook until freshman year of high school. I was very lucky that my high school was also pretty good about monitoring online bullying. It is VERY sad that these days kids can be bullied at school and then come home and turn on a computer and be bullied at home, or simply turn on their phone and be bullied anywhere. Nowhere is safe anymore.
DJ: What is your answer to solving this bullying problem…all forms?
HG: A lot of the time people just help the victim, but I believe in order to end the cycle of hate, we need to help the bully as well. Usually bullies are being bullied themselves, or have problems at home. I also think educating as many people as possible on anti-bullying as well as teaching that “Being Nice is Cool” will help. Another thing is to make sure EVERY school has a good anti-bullying program, and that they are not turning a blind eye to bullying.
DJ: What would you like to see done in the schools as it seems to be such a major issue not being addressed enough?
HG: They don’t seem to do much about it from what I can see with the exception of some schools that seem to take it very seriously.
I think that anti-bullying should be a part of EVERY school’s curriculum. We should teach kids to embrace our differences, to spread kindness, to eliminate all forms of hate and to educate students on what bullying actually is. Schools also need to take more of an initiative and stop turning a blind eye. Every school deals with bullies and instead of hiding it, they should aim to fix the problem!
DJ: Are you a supporter of the LGBT community? The fight for equality seems to make based on religion or other beliefs for some as an excuse to spread hate. What is your take on it?
HG: One of my close friend’s is gay, and he was so scared to tell me. I supported him from the moment he told me. I mean, he was a close friend. What else was I supposed to do? I believe ALL people are created equal. It doesn’t matter if you are Gay, Straight, White, Black, Christian, Muslim… What matters is the type of person you choose to be and how you choose to live your life. Being nice is a choice, just as being mean is a choice.
DJ: Tell me where people can find you.
DJ: Is there anything you would like to add?
HG: Bullying is a chain reaction. Once you break that chain, ANYTHING is possible!
Interview by: BKO Founder, Manager, Writer, Cyber bully investigator, Motivational Speaker, Motivational mentor/coach, and host of La Bella Vita Podcast Dana Jacoviello