Former Frontiers cover model Ronnie Kroell and filmmaker Elliot London set out to start an anti-bullying campaign focusing on awareness by empowerment.
They could have sprouted the grassroots campaign with fundraising bake sales to subsidize educational rallies, which I am not knocking—I love cookies. Instead, they took some inventive input from seasoned creative director Bianca Kosoy and chose to stare down the camera, “giving bullying the bird” to rally emotion and get folks to take action.
Many people who have experienced bullying and/or discrimination, especially on an extended level, feel helpless, inadequate, isolated, depressed and even suicidal. What Friend Movement does is not only build a growing network of empowered support through brazenly confident photography—it also takes ownership of the F in 'F-word,' turning it into “friend.”
The New F Word from Friend Movement on Vimeo.
The brilliant photographer behind these images is Ryan Forbes, a long-time Frontiers friend who has collaborated on several adventurous cover shoots—Richard Simmons, illusionist Curtis Lovell, Universal Studios with Chandler Massey and even the aforementioned friend-founding father, Ronnie Kroell's cover. Ryan is no stranger to philanthropy, having generously donated his Frontiers fees to the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.
The New F Word campaign is looking for 10,000 friends to photograph in 90 days across 40 cities. Friends who have already participated include LeAnn Rimes, Adam Lambert, Tim Gunn, Lisa Vanderpump, Darren Criss, Rumer Willis, Richard Simmons, Aubrey O’Day, NBA players Jordan Hill, Earl Clark and Amir Johnson, Gretchen Rossi, Carmen Electra, Cloris Leachman, Teri Polo, Michael Rooker, Bruce Vilanch, Rachel Dratch, Lance Bass, Cupcake Wars host Justin Willman and many more.
See some of the images here:
Friend Movement is not exclusively LGBT. Everybody and anybody is welcome to join, as the movement supports absolute inclusion and mutual respect for all. A truly inspirational member of the campaign is Lizzie Velasquez. She was targeted by cyber-bullies as “the ugliest woman in the world.” I have had the pleasure of meeting Lizzie and was blown away by how positive, well-spoken and charming she is. Fittingly, Lizzie is the published author of Be Beautiful, Be You and a motivational speaker.
You can help spread "The New F-Word" via an Indiegogo campaign counting down right now. And if you live in Los Angeles, you can attend a Friend Movement benefit concert at El Rey, July 1, featuring Leann Rimes, Dia Frampton, Frenchie Davis, Austin Brown and Abraham Lim. Of course, you can just go to friendmovement.com and donate. There’s a lot of stuff going on here. Not a bad start for two nice guys looking to do some good.
Below are a few behind-the-scenes shots from the campaign.
"The New F Word" on Entertainment Tonight
"Friend Movement" on KTLA