She was 13 years old when she tried out for the second season of “The X Factor” and went on to become a top-10 finalist.
Four years later, 17-year-old Bea Miller has millions of fans and her songs have earned more than 28 million views on YouTube. But despite all the fame, Miller says that she has the same struggles as any other teenage girl. 1010WINS.com spoke to her about it backstage at Barclays Center while she was preparing to open for Selena Gomez’s “Revival Tour.”
“I mean, I am 17 and I do go through those problems sometimes where I do have insecurities,” the singer said.
As with so many young girls on social media, that includes dealing with cyberbullying. Miller says when she was on “The X Factor” and the public found out that she has two moms, the comments people wrote online drove her to tears.
“A lot of people that are very against that [same-sex relationships] would kind of go on my Instagram and be like, ‘you are a sin, the fact that you are even alive on this earth is a sin, like your parents are sinners,’” she said.
Miller refused to stay silent after receiving negative comments on her Instagram after posting a picture of herself with her mother.
“Why are some people coming on here just to insult MY MOM. How DARE you. YES she is a lesbian, but what does that have to do with me? DO NOT insult her like that on MY damn photo. Who do you think you are? GTFO seriously. Don’t insult my mother,” Miller wrote.
Cyberbullying can have devastating consequences, even leading to suicide in some cases.
A recent online poll of 1,000 local teens and parents by AT&T and the Tyler Clementi Foundation found that, “almost half of NYC-area teens [surveyed] have been bullied online” and “41 percent describe the comments their peers post online as mostly mean.”
“There’s a lot of addiction of social media and…girls and boys told me that they feel addicted, that they feel unable to disengage,” said Nancy Jo Sales, author of the book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers. “It can lead to an unprecedented sort of exposure to all sorts of taunts and bullying and cyberbullying which can affect your life online and offline.”
A local girl, who did not want to be identified, told 1010WINS.com that she was shocked by a comment left on one of her Instagram posts earlier this year. She said an unknown Instagram user had direct messaged her to say, “hi” about two days prior to her post. By the time she posted her photo, she hadn’t responded to the message. Then she found this comment from the user under her picture:
“You’re stupid f****** c*** just an FYI.”
Take a look at the video below to see the photo, the comment, and hear her reaction:
These types of comments are often unrelenting in this world of constant connections and notifications, and that can truly impact one’s self-esteem.
“This sort of negative attack on girls, this sort of bullying, cyberbullying, it doesn’t stop, it’s like you can’t escape it,” said Sales. “It used to be you go to school, maybe someone’s being mean to you, whatever, you can go home, you have a little reprieve from it, you can sort of regroup. Now, it’s all the time. It’s just like people have access to you all the time.”
That includes celebrities who are constantly in the public eye. Miller is not the only young female star to deal with cyberbullying. Singer and actress Laura Marano, well known for starring in Disney Channel’s popular series “Austin & Ally,” and recently for her song, “Boombox” sat down with 1010WINS.com to talk about her experiences with online bullying. She also shared some advice on how to rise above the negativity.
While it can be very difficult to overcome hurtful online comments, Miller believes the key is to find inner strength.
“Learn to be happy with yourself,” she said. “That, I think, is really the biggest lesson that I’ve learned recently. If you’re happy with yourself and you truly are happy with yourself, then what everyone else says doesn’t really matter.”
The New Jersey local says her newest song, “Yes Girl” is her most personal yet, and is about a girl finding her voice and standing up for her beliefs.
“I think a lot of people will do certain things because they think that they’re supposed to, which is basically what a ‘yes man’ means, so I kind of took that and made it ‘yes girl,’” Miller said. “That can apply to just trying to do what is normal in society and be what is normal in society. I think you just have to let it go and you just have to do what makes you the happiest.”
She says that underlying message can help to empower young girls.