When Joseph Arujo reached out to tell us about his involvement with Lady Gaga’s incredibly inspiring Born This Way Foundation, we knew we needed to speak with him. In addition to being an advisor to the singer’s mental health organisation, Joseph is also a Community Leader in the TikTok Diversity Collective and a student at the University of California Berkeley… How impressive is he?
His love for Lady Gaga motivated him to get involved with the organisation, as he explains, “Lady Gaga has been a constant source of inspiration and empowerment in my life. However, as I grew older, I began to realize that I wasn’t just a fan of Gaga’s art and her creative expression, but instead, it was the way she used her platform to impact the younger generation.”
Joseph told us all about how he first got involved with the non-profit, the valuable tools he has learned, how he balances his career with his studies, and so much more! So without further ado, please welcome, Joseph Arujo!
Can you tell us about Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation?
Absolutely! Born This Way Foundation is a mental health organization catered towards young people, helping us build a kinder, braver world.
I’m a member of the 2023 Advisory Board, where myself and 30 other students are working together to make a difference in our communities. As advisory board members, we frequently collaborate with Born This Way Foundation staff and advise the Foundation on how they can continue making an impact on young people around the world.
Just this past month, I spoke on a panel to over 400 high school students—with Cynthia Germanotta, a fellow advisory board member and CNBC—to educate students on mental health awareness. Overall, we serve as ambassadors for the Born This Way Foundation and have the opportunity to share some of our experiences on Channel Kindness, a digital storytelling platform created by the Born This Way Foundation.
How did you get involved with such an inspiring organisation?
I’ve been a long-time supporter of the Born This Way Foundation and have always wanted to get further involved with the organization. I’ve used my TikTok platform to raise funds and awareness for the charity, joined various Born This Way Foundation online events and was vigilant of opportunities to work with the charity on mental-health-related causes.
One day, I got an email requesting that I apply for the 2023 Youth Advisory Board and knew it was finally my calling to get involved with the foundation. I spent a few weeks finalizing my application, submitted it to the team, and was ecstatic to learn that I was 1 of 31 selected to work with the charity!
thank you for this opportunity @ladygaga @btwfoundation 💙 #btwfoundation #ladygaga #bornthisway #gaga #greenscreen
What have been the most valuable tools that you have learned from working with the Born This Way Foundation?
I would say being available for people is one of the most valuable lessons I learned from working with the Born This Way Foundation. As an advisory board member, I was instructed to complete the Be There Certificate created by Jack.org in partnership with Born This Way Foundation, where I learned the 5 Golden Rules to being there for others. These rules are “Say what you see, show you care, hear them out, know your role, and Connect to help.”
Learning the Golden Rules has helped me become a lot more comfortable talking about mental health and seizing the awkwardness around mental health awareness.
What have you accomplished working as a Community Leader in the TikTok Diversity Collective?
My involvement with the TikTok Diversity Collective has been an incredible opportunity to effect positive change within the TikTok community, and I’m so grateful for the chance to impact billions of users. As 1 of 10 Community Leaders, my cohort and I have led initiatives to make the platform more diverse, equitable, and inclusive to all users on the platform. Some of the changes we implemented include adding pronouns to all profiles, crediting creator’s tools, and more.
Adding pronouns on profiles is so important to me because the feature allows other users on TikTok to know exactly how to refer to you with specificity and ease. As for crediting creators, we implemented this tool so that when you create a video and feel inspired by another user’s original content, you have the option to embed a link to the original video on your post. As a community, we often get inspiration from others, so it’s important to properly credit creators for their original trends and more!
How have you used your own personal experiences to create content for TikTok and other platforms?
I see my social media platforms as a window peaking into my life, and I strive to use each one to share a unique perspective with you all.
Instagram is where I curate the best moments from my life into one big highlight reel, while TikTok and YouTube allow me to showcase a more quirky side of myself. You’ll often catch me posting short videos based on all my weekly adventures or even going LIVE and chatting with some of you.
Meanwhile, Snapchat is an entirely different beast where I offer everyone a real-time, unfiltered look at my daily life. I upload dozens of pictures a day, sharing everything from my latest meal to clips of my car engine exploding on the freeway. It’s the rawest form of content where my fans can truly see what it’s like to take a day in my life.
Throughout all of my content, my ultimate goal is to inspire and uplift my audience. I want social media to feel like a safe, inclusive space where people can express themselves however they choose. In a world where it’s far too easy to tear each other down, I want to use my platform to build others up and spread joy wherever possible.
If you haven’t satisfied your daily dose of Joseph today, follow him on TikTok @joseph or see some behind-the-scenes content on Instagram and Snapchat @josepharujo.
© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.
During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.
GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.
comments. Please sign in to comment.