Ariel Martin is a pretty ordinary teenager. She’s goofy, loves playing with makeup, and enjoys singing along to the radio on drives with her mum.
Martin, 15, is also an overnight social media star who’s famous for lip-syncing. She bops around her lilac-coloured bedroom, silently belting out today’s top hits, in 15-second videos on social network Musical.ly. The app’s top user has racked up over 10 million fans since joining last year.
Her fame comes with a caveat. Internet trolls have been vicious to Martin, often tweeting and writing in the comments of her Musical.ly videos and Instagram photos that she’s “famous for nothing.”
Now, Martin is killing the game with kindness. Her social media campaign, Ariel’s Movement, rallies teens to spread messages of support and positivity on social media using the hashtag #Arielmovement.
On a typical day, thousands of social media users across Musical.ly, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter debate her talents.
“I hate Ariel, she’s talentless and has millions of followers for nothing,” one Instagram user writes on a candid photo of Martin out to eat. Another user comments, “I’m not jealous at all, I actually am truly shocked that you can get famous without talent.”
“I get that a lot,” Martin says on a recent Skype call with Tech Insider. “When I first started Musical.ly and social media, it really, really did affect me because I’m just being myself on the internet.”
Eventually, she realised the haters weren’t worth her time.
“After a while I realised, you know, if I’m making people happy and doing what I love to do, just like I tell all my supporters, I have to say it to myself: Be confident in who you are.”
Martin turned to the internet, the same place where her haters lurked, for support. A YouTube video of Martin reading and reacting to hate comments has been viewed almost three million times.
Her fans started tweeting and posting messages using the Ariel’s Movement hashtag to better insulate their community against teenaged trolls.
— Ashlee (@AshleeValles_16) April 11, 2016
Martin tells Tech Insider her team is currently working on a campaign that aims to spread positivity and goes beyond a hashtag.
Taking on internet bullying is a tall order for a young woman who isn’t yet old enough to drive a car or see a R-rated movie. Fortunately, she has 10 million fans and counting to back her up.
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