3 ways to effect real change according to @sashapallari

Sasha Pallari: My Toolkit For Good
Welcome to Stylist's 'Toolkit For Good' series in partnership with bareMinerals. In this three-part series, we speak to women who have harnessed their power to make positive change happen and learn how we can do the same. This week, we speak to campaigner and influencer Sasha Pallari about her #FilterDrop campaign – which led to misleading filters being banned from beauty ads on Instagram – and how we all have the power to effect change…

"Everything started on a Friday night in 2020 when I posted a story on Instagram asking people to share their unfiltered selfies.

"I'm a make-up artist by profession so my feed was often full of beauty photos, but I noticed I hardly ever saw photos showing real skin. Everyone was filtering their pictures so heavily, it was as though wrinkles, pimples or fine lines didn't exist.

"When I saw an influencer promoting a beauty product in a sponsored story in which filters had clearly been used, I knew something had to change. So, I put out a call for unfiltered selfies on Instagram, asking people to share their pictures using the hashtag #FilterDrop. The idea spread like wildfire. It turned out thousands of others desperately wanted to see real faces on social media, too.

"I decided to campaign for changes to the rules that regulate advertising on social media. I wrote to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), expressing my concerns. It took six months of discussions, but in February 2021 the ASA ruled that brands, influencers and celebrities who promote skincare and make-up on Instagram shouldn't use filters that exaggerate the product's effects.

"I know how difficult it can be to give up filters, because I was once addicted to them myself. But, from the brands we support to how we interact with social media, our small choices can make a big impact. When the ASA ruling came through, it was a massive moment. I burst into tears. This now means that we're more likely to see real faces on Instagram.

"If you're passionate about changing an area or issue that means something to you, here's how to go about it…"

It starts with the choices you make…
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Secondly…

"Be genuine. I don't think you can make change unless you truly believe in something. The campaign I created – I didn't sit down and think, 'Right, I'm going to create a global campaign.' But my passion for this subject inspired other people to share their vulnerability and then that created the change. I do think that if you genuinely believe in something, it would be difficult for that not to do well or if change was what you wanted from something, for that not to happen. So, yeah, I think passion always makes it a possibility."

Lastly…

"Harness the power of community. As I started talking more about this subject publicly I realised how many others cared about it and were damaged by it – that then spurred me on even more. To hear stories about people who can't even look at themselves in the mirror, I was like, 'Wow, I need to change this.' The success of my campaign was never just about me. It was the army of people who posted filter-free selfies. There's a lot of power in creating a community of people who feel and care about the same things you do."

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