Need to make social media a safer space: Athiya Shetty

The Bollywood actor chats with Campaign India on her investment with Stage3, trolls on social media, brand endorsements and more…

May 05, 2022 02:24:00 AM | Article | Raahil Chopra

Bollywood actor Athiya Shetty recently entered the brand investment space as she joined social commerce platform Stage3 as creative director.
 
In a conversation with Campaign India, she labelled it as the ‘perfect fit’, owing to her extreme passion for fashion and clothes. Shetty also revealed that this is the start of her investment journey, as she aims to continue pursuing her interests.
 
Stage3
 
Shetty revealed that she’s actively involved with Stage3 and not just lending her name to the social commerce marketplace - which connects creators with fashion.
 
"I have always expressed myself throughout my career through fashion and clothes, and I was looking to do something in this space. Stage3 came along and it’s a platform that ticked all the boxes for me. It happened very organically. As a creative director, it allows me to lend my voice to the platform. We have regular meetings and chats on how to take it forward," she said.
 
Shetty added that another passion of hers is the skincare space, which she's looking to enter in an environment-conscious way.
 
"It’s in the planning space. I want to make the beauty and skincare space environment conscious, vegan and free of animal cruelty.”
 
Trolls and social media
 
Shetty has more than three million followers on Instagram and two million on Twitter.
 
When asked about how she approaches both platforms, she stated that she was more involved on Instagram and spent less time on Twitter, due to the ‘negativity of the users’.
 
She explained, "There’s a lot of good information out there, but I also think that people are very negative on it, and that gets to me. I can’t keep up with that."
 
However, Shetty hasn’t been timid to call out those negative comments.
 
In 2018, she responded to trolls on social media by stating that no one should be body shamed.
"If I’m reading something and I genuinely believe that the person needs to be called out, then I do it. It’s not cool and trolls must not get away by being anonymous and typing whatever he/she wants to. I don’t actively go out there hoping to read such comments and call them out,” she added.
 
Shetty also shared that she doesn't just call out trolls addressed to her, but also to those addressed to others. “If someone’s being an ass, I make sure that the person is called out.”
 
On the topic of social media, Shetty added that people need to be sensitive about the fact that a post on any of the platforms, doesn’t reflect the state of mind of the person posting it.
 
Speaking of this, she said, "We need to figure that a person posting a happy picture, may not be the happiest person in the world and that everybody has their struggles. Everyone has good and bad days and we need to be a bit more sensitive and aware about the fact that it may not be all real."
 
When asked about the changes she wants to see on Twitter, with Elon Musk recently taking over the platform, Shetty said, “Please help make Twitter (and other social media platforms) a kinder space to be on.”
 
Brand endorsements
 
Shetty, who made her acting debut in 2015, is currently endorsing Numi Paris and STRT. She has also been associated with the likes of L'Oréal and Samsung on social media.
 
Recently, actor Akshay Kumar attracted social media attention, when he appeared in a Vimal Elaichi ad, after previously mentioning that no amount of money could lure him to endorse a 'gutka' brand. He ended up issuing an apology and stating that his endorsement fee would be donated to a worthy cause.
 
Speaking about the path she'd steer clear of, Shetty stated that she won’t endorse a brand in the fairness cream category or any brand that promises to change the skin colour of a person. 
 
“I don’t feel comfortable doing that. A brand promoting skin texture is okay, but not for skin colour. I won’t be a perfect fit too, because I’m not fair-skinned,” she added. “I've turned down brands from other categories as well, if I felt that I wasn’t the perfect fit for it."
 
Shetty was seen alongside her brother Ahan, in a promo for the Bundesliga (German football league) earlier this year for Sony Sports Network. The duo also travelled to Germany as a part of the deal, to watch the game between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. 
 
And Shetty attributed her ‘passion’ for the sport to her brother. 
 
“I represented my school football team for seven years. I’m not a big fan, but I do enjoy watching some games. My brother is a huge football fan and because of him, I have followed the sport. Going to Germany and being a part of the Bundesliga in a little way has made me understand and experience what it is like, to be a crazy football fan," she said.
 
When asked about a dream brand to endorse, Shetty stated that she didn’t have one, but is keen to endorse a brand in the skincare beauty space.