Aussie Icon Pia Miranda Opens Up on How Bullying Changed Her Life

pia miranda dolly's dream

Pia Miranda has been an absolute stalwart of the Australian entertainment industry for over two decades. A breakout movie star in the early 2000s to becoming reality TV royalty in the late 2010s, Pia Miranda has done it all. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t deal with issues everyone else does, and it certainly doesn’t make her immune to hurt. 

Much like a lot of people, Pia’s experience with bullying started in the schoolyard. She tells POPSUGAR Australia that her earliest memories of bullying are complicated.

“I moved around a lot,” she said.

‘So I think part of my struggle as a young person was ducking and weaving and trying to fit in with whoever seemed the most popular. I could navigate social situations and work out who held the power and who didn’t. That’s not always available to everyone in the schoolyard or online.”

That idea of handling schoolyard bullying not being accessible to everyone is exactly part of the reason why Pia is now an ambassador for Dolly’s Dream. Tick and Kate Everett established Dolly’s Dream in the aftermath of losing their 14-year-old daughter, Dolly, to suicide due to bullying.

According to Pia, who has met Tick and Kate multiple times, “once you’ve met them you’re like ‘I’ll do anything for you’.” 

“How they’ve managed to turn it into such an incredible, positive thing –  it’s unbelievable. They’re filled with love and kindness in the face of what they’ve been through. To be filled with so much love and kindness is a lesson that all of us can learn from.”

Tick and Kate Everett with Pia Miranda. Credit: Supplied

What is Dolly’s Dream, and Why Does Pia Miranda Love Them?

The purpose of Dolly’s Dream is to elevate the ongoing dialogue across the nation concerning the profound impact of bullying on both its targets and their support networks. Additionally, the organisation aims to raise awareness of this issue within regional and rural communities, where residents must contend with additional challenges such as droughts and flooding, in addition to bullying.

“Dolly’s Dream is great because it opens up the conversation without fear of judgement, “Pia says. 

“There’s no judgement of someone who has kept quiet when they’ve seen someone bullied… It’s about opening up that conversation and trying to change our behaviours, from the home as well as in the schoolyard.”

A judgement-free space is really important to Pia, as she acknowledges that pretty much everyone will find themselves on both ends of the bullying spectrum at one point in their life – both the bully and the bullied.

“I think it’s inevitable that we’re going to find ourselves on both sides of the equation, and so I think the message of Dolly’s Dream is to remind ourselves that being kind is easier than being nasty and getting caught up in drama.

“It’s healthier to change our behaviours,” she continued. “And I have a personal gripe about expecting everyone to be resilient because, while we can teach our kids to be resilient, not everyone has that possibility. Not everyone has the personal history to be able to do that, and it puts the onus on the victim.

“I think the responsibility is on us as people to make sure that we’re living in an environment where people don’t have to be resilient, where they can be in a space where they feel safe and supported.”

What Does Dolly’s Dream Do?

Dolly’s Dream does just that. Focusing on education, support, and resourcing, Dolly’s Dream sports a myriad of ways to help the community reckon with bullying. The free-to-download Beacon Cyber Safety app offers valuable resources for parents and carers, covering topics ranging from the psychology of bullying to understanding children’s reluctance to speak up about it. 

Dolly’s Dream also conducts tailored school workshops for students of all ages, while extending educational opportunities to parents, teachers, and the wider community. Recognising the limitations of traditional counselling services, they’ve also launched a 24/7 support line in collaboration with Kids Helpline, ensuring accessible counselling for children, families, and friends. On top of that, they offer Mental Health First Aid training in rural and regional areas where such resources are scarce.

Giving rural and remote communities access to resources that they so often go without is a big part of what drew Pia to ambassadorship for Dolly’s Dream.

“I’ve got a lot of family members who live in country towns, and there’s such a lack of access to support for people who are living remotely. And I’d really understood that with a couple of family members who had struggled and they had to come to Melbourne for treatment, which was difficult.”

Do It For Dolly Day

To sustain their efforts, Dolly’s Dream relies on donations and continuous fundraising, with their annual Do It for Dolly Day serving as a significant fundraising event. On Friday, May 10, people are encouraged to dress in Dolly’s favorite color, blue, and get actively involved.

“I’ll be out and about on Do It for Dolly Day!” Pia said.

“Obviously, I’m going to be wearing all my blue. I’m going to be in my T-shirt and I’ll be putting a few things up on my Instagram and keeping the conversation open. I’m gonna be in Do It for Dolly Day get-up all week!”

These funds raised from Do It For Dolly Day, and donations throughout the year, drive the development of crucial educational programs in schools and provide much-needed support services to those affected by bullying. 

But it’s not just about the money—it’s about creating a movement. Additionally, Do It For Dolly Day isn’t just a one-day event; it’s a call to action that empowers individuals to champion kindness and inclusivity every day.

Dolly’s Dream, and Pia Miranda, invite you to rock your best blue this Friday, May 10th. You can head to Dolly’s Dream to register, donate and find out more info.

If this article brings up any issues for you or anyone you know, or you are experiencing suicidal ideation or are at risk, please contact the free 24 hour Dolly’s Dream support line (0488 881 033), Lifeline (13 11 14), Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) or Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636), all of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.

Related: This Charity Is Aiming to Put an End to Bullying After Its Founders’ Tragic Loss

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