Actress Cassie Scerbo Is Standing Up Against Bullying

Yitzi Weiner @ Authority Magazine
Authority Magazine
…I’ve always wanted to use my voice towards causes that I was passionate about. I’ve said this since I was a child. Whether you are someone in the spotlight or not, you have a voice! All it takes is passion to drive a movement. Even if you have no idea about the world of philanthropy, with passion you can make anything happen.
Fortunately, we live in an era where giving back is extremely accessible. You can simply give back via the internet and social media by joining in on campaigns or donating to important causes with a click of a button. Every bit truly helps.
If you want to create your own organization or campaign, all it takes is passion, dedication, and research. I’m a firm believer of “If you want it bad enough, you will always find a way.”

We had the pleasure of interviewing Cassie Scerbo. Cassie has established herself as one of Hollywood’s hardest-working entertainers of her generation. Cassie is best known for her acting resume having already led various television series and films. Some of Scerbo’s most memorable productions have been Freeform’s “Make it or Break it,” the “Sharknado” film series playing the iconic Nova Clark, “Truth or Dare” on Netflix, ABC’s “Grand Hotel”, Neil LaBute’s “Bench Seat”, 911: Lonestar and most recently “AMP House” (opposite Brandon Perea, Pedro Correa and Kara Royster), “The Plus One” (opposite Cedric The Entertainer and Ashanti), The Fall (opposite Thomas Coquerel, Jocelyn Hudon and Jeremy Sumpter) and TUBI original, “Off-season”, all set to premiere this upcoming winter. Aside from her long-standing career as an actress, Scerbo is currently executive producing a hard-hitting safer school documentary titled CODE RED, alongside Conor Riley and Bailee Madison and serves as Vice President of the California state non-profit, Boo2Bullying.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?

Absolutely! I was born into an incredibly loving and loud Italian family! I was taught from a very young age to always fight for what I believed in and to have respect for all those around me. To be gracious, yet to not let anyone walk over me.

I was born in Long Island, New York and moved to Parkland, Florida as a child where I began acting, singing, dancing, and modeling at age 8. I signed on with my first agency at age 10 and began taking trips to Los Angeles for work at age 14, and the rest is history!

My passion has always been in entertainment while my purpose has always been to give back.

I love pizza, soccer, boxing, cooking for family and friends, traveling and my dog! :)

You are currently leading a social impact organization that is helping to promote mental wellness. Can you tell us a bit about what you or your organization are trying to address?

I serve as Vice President of a California-based 501(c)(3) called Boo2Bullying. Our mission is to eradicate hate and intolerance in all forms and to teach our youth the proper tools to not only combat bullying but to find self-love and to treat others with kindness. Our main focus is on our school assemblies and community outreach where we also cater our focus towards suicide prevention.

There are many parallels when looking at bullying and mental health. When a person isn’t stable within their own mind, they much easier fall victim to bullying which can lead to self-doubt, anxiety, depression and in some cases, even suicide. Unfortunately, we’re hearing more and more gut-wrenching stories of children and teens taking their lives due to bullying. It absolutely sickens me. No one should feel that isolated and let down by their peers!

We are firm believers in that teaching our youth the path towards self-confidence and self-esteem can deem them less susceptible towards falling victim to bullying and most tragically, a fatal outcome.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

Bullying doesn’t discriminate. Almost every person no matter their age, ethnicity, social identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background and so forth, has either fallen victim to bullying or have witnessed someone close to them suffer the harsh effects of bullying.

Eliminating bullying ultimately results in a much healthier, successful, and happier community. Everyone deserves to be seen and to feel good about themselves. The ways bullying can hold one back or cause mental triggers for years to come is something I will not stand for.

I am extremely passionate in promoting kindness and ensuring as many people as possible has the proper tools to live life to the fullest extent without the set-backs bullying can cause.

Bullying is at the root of all evil, whether that be the self-bully or bullying towards a single person or specific group of people. We can even say we are bullying the planet when we don’t treat Mother Nature with love and respect. Bullying comes in many forms — domestic violence, sex-trafficking and so forth. All of these atrocities I refuse to not fight against. I have a platform and I will spend every day, for the rest of my life, fighting for those who feel they don’t have a voice.

All of the above, is why I am incredibly passionate towards eradicating bullying and shining a light on inclusivity.
Authority Magazine

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest them. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?

I’ve always wanted to use my voice towards causes that I was passionate about. I’ve said this since I was a child. Whether you are someone in the spotlight or not, you have a voice! All it takes is passion to drive a movement. Even if you have no idea about the world of philanthropy, with passion you can make anything happen.

Fortunately, we live in an era where giving back is extremely accessible. You can simply give back via the internet and social media by joining in on campaigns or donating to important causes with a click of a button. Every bit truly helps.

If you want to create your own organization or campaign, all it takes is passion, dedication, and research. I’m a firm believer of “If you want it bad enough, you will always find a way.”

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

There are many stories that move me to tears. I’d feel guilty only sharing one. In all, having students come up to you after an assembly and open up, sharing extremely personal stories or tell you that you have saved their life, is the most rewarding feeling in the world. I have witnessed this after almost every one of our educational programs and it is why I do what I do. To ensure that no one ever feels alone, as loneliness is where negativity and self-doubt manifest.

None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?

I am blessed to have had many mentors along the way. I’ll start with my incredible family, therapy, my life coach (B2B Ambassador, Alexa Silvaggio), close friends, strangers, acting coaches (acting class is basically psychology 101), and the students I get to speak with. They have just as much of an impact on me as I hope I do them.

We are all just a reflection of each other. Creating change, a majority of the time, is a joint effort. We need each other. And I am unbelievably grateful to all of my “teachers” and to those I’m yet to have met.

I feel that we will always be students at this thing called life and that there is always more to learn and room to grow. Even when you think you’ve got it all figured out, life will toss you a curveball. That is why surrounding yourself with positive people who support you and whom you can continuously learn from is so very important. There is so much power in numbers.

According to Mental Health America’s report, over 44 million Americans have a mental health condition. Yet there’s still a stigma about mental illness. Can you share a few reasons you think this is so?

Honestly, I can’t! I think it is wildly bizarre. We spend so much time talking about our physical health — working out, healthy foods/recipes, drinking water, sleep, yet there is still this stigma surrounding mental health.

I do feel that since the pandemic people have become more open to having conversations surrounding mental health, but it still isn’t enough. We need to start taking our minds to the “gym” as well as our bodies. A “mental gym” if you will.

Simply talk about whatever it is that you are going through, there is absolutely no shame in dealing with mental health issues. More people struggle with mental health than we realize. Some are just great at hiding it — which is terribly sad. Speak with anyone who you trust and who is willing to genuinely listen. There is so much enlightenment in the power of speaking things out of your body. Don’t bottle it up, that sh*t can get heavy!

There are over 7 billion people on this planet so if you are struggling, I can assure you that someone, many people, are going through exactly what you are going through. Once again, negativity manifests in isolation. Talk about it!

Other than speaking to your trusted peers, I’d like to think that taking your mind to this “mental gym” can entail seeking therapy, journaling, meditating, practicing gratitude, breath work, grounding, creating healthy boundaries and so on.

In your experience, what should a) individuals b) society, and c) the government do to better support people suffering from mental illness?

Individuals should absolutely talk through whatever it is that they are experiencing. Therapy is extremely beneficial. And as previously mentioned, creating healthy boundaries, journaling, practicing gratitude, meditation, breathwork and grounding.

Society can and should absolutely get on the “break the stigma” train. Majority of us deal with internal struggles, the best thing we can do is open up the conversation and offer support towards those who are suffering. Getting candid may bring on feelings of vulnerability but the truth is that almost all of us have had bouts with mental health, so who is most brave to talk about them? Being vulnerable is being courageous. It’s all about who is willing to open up and share their stories/experiences. I view vulnerability as a massive strength, never a weakness.

The Government… BETTER MENTAL HEALTHCARE. Mental healthcare can be extremely expensive which absolutely saddens me. The thought that certain people aren’t able to get the proper mental healthcare due to their financial circumstances is heartbreaking. I would like to offer up an affordable and easily accessible online company called “Cerebral” which has numerous different plans including therapy and medication for those in need. This company has plans for those who are insured as well as those who aren’t.

What are your 5 strategies you use to promote your own wellbeing and mental wellness? Can you please give a story or example for each?

Speaking transparently about my experiences with someone who I trust and who supports me. Whether dealing with anxiety or just being overwhelmed with everything on my plate, I find this to be most healing.

Meditation — I personally love the Insight Timer app which has guided meditations for all types of stress factors and a vast selection of times. If I need a quick pick-me-up, they have 5-minute guided meditations, or if I’m needing a meditation to help put me to sleep, they also offer longer meditations geared towards getting a good night’s rest. They offer both guided and un-guided meditations as well as comforting and healing music.

Gratitude — I like to write down 10 things I’m grateful for before starting my day. There can be much to dwell on, sure, but in my opinion, there is much more to be grateful for. It’s all about shifting your mindset! I’m a firm believer in the law of attraction and in manifesting what you want in life. A positive mindset leads a positive life.

Breathwork — This isn’t the easiest one for me as a lot of emotions can surface when diving into a deep breathwork exercise. However, it is one of the most therapeutic resources. I feel 10 times lighter post each breathwork session. It is ALWAYS worth the outcome!

Creating healthy boundaries — This is extremely important, especially if you’re anything like me! Being someone who loves to work hard and continuously give to others, I used to wear myself down. It’s important to make sure your tank is full in order to continue to produce great work and help others. Saying “no” to certain plans or proposals is okay. It is impossible to be everywhere and do everything at once, although personalities like mine might try!

Of course, I try to do as much as I can to give back, but I have also found a balance in also giving to myself in finding time for rest and play. Life is meant to be lived! Don’t forget to “play.” Brene Brown does a great job at explaining the importance of this.
Authority Magazine

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a mental health champion?

As for books, anything by Brene Brown. The Secret and The Untethered Soul to name a few.

Podcasts — “WTF with Marc Maron”, I love Maron’s approach, and the vulnerable conversations shared by so many.

“The Happiness Lab” by Dr. Laurie Santos of Yale University is fabulous. I’ve actually taken a course of hers during the pandemic.

Another great podcast is “Feeling Good” by Dr. Burns. His podcast offers powerful tools to overcome depression and anxiety, most rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. Another incredible podcast!

If you could tell other people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

There is genuinely no better feeling in the world. We all need each other. It’s so easy to scroll past charitable efforts online or even block out in-person stands etc., as we’re seeing more and more pop up. However, we’re seeing this because the world is in crisis. Now, more than ever, we need to unite and help lift one another up. There are countless causes you can give back to or volunteer for. Every single donation and call to action help. It’s all part of a much bigger picture. We can’t just rely on others or think “I’m sure there are many other people already donating/helping this organization,” because there is always more to be done. And I promise you, it’s worth it!

How can our readers follow you online?

Instagram and Twitter: @cassiescerbo // @boo2bullying

Facebook: Cassandra Scerbo // Boo2Bullying

TikTok: @CassandraScerboOfficial // @Boo2Bullying (I’m trying to get better at posting here!)

Another project I wanted to talk about that also lies in the vein of mental health amongst many other issues, is a documentary I Executive-Produced with many other incredible producers called “Code Red: Youth of the Nation” now streaming on Amazon, Apple, and Google.

This documentary is a solution-based film educating viewers on what went wrong February 14th, 2018, at my former high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas in my beloved hometown of Parkland, Florida as well as many other schools which have fell victim to a fatal mass shooting.

With more school shootings than ever before, ‘Code Red: Youth of the Nation’ exposes the fatal cost of our children’s education. The documentary seeks to restore the safety of our schools by providing the tools and solutions to put an end to these tragedies.

I will never have the words to express the feeling of when I got that call about my former High School. I was gutted in a way I never knew possible. However, the passing of my incredible underclassmen and the wonderful and courageous teachers of MSD, will not be in vain. We will carry on their legacies by ensuring safer schools for all students of the United States moving forward.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

Thank YOU so much! I am so grateful for this conversation and to help shed light on an incredibly important subject matter.

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Yitzi Weiner is a journalist, author, and the founder Authority Magazine. He is also the CEO of Authority Magazine's Thought Leader Incubator, which guides leaders to become prolific content creators. Yitzi is also the author of five books. In 2017, he created the popular, “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” series that highlights the empowering lessons learned from the experiences of high-profile entrepreneurs and public figures. This series has inspired a mini-movement among writers, with scores of writers worldwide profiling inspiring people to share their positive, empowering, and actionable stories. A trained Rabbi, Yitzi is also a dynamic educator, teacher and orator. He currently lives in Maryland with his wife and children.

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