I recently spoke with Ariana Rowlands who participated in the Shatterproof charity’s rappelling event in Orange County in California on Monday, June 15, 2015. Shatterproof is an organization that raises money to help protect people from addiction and the stigma involved for those suffering from the disease. Ariana was inspired by Supernatural’s Misha Collins to participate in this event and was on his team. I got the chance to speak with her a little bit about her experience.
How did you first hear about Shatterproof and why did you decide to get involved?
Ariana: I saw Misha’s (Collins) tweet about it and I read it and I was like, “Wow this is really cool!” This is something I totally could do. I wish I could do it, and then I saw [Misha’s tweet] “Oh yeah I’m jumping off a building in Irvine.” I was like, “Wait a second! This is literally five minutes from where I go to school!” I go to school at UCI so, I can totally do this. So, I just signed up to jump off a building. I thought it was just for the spreading of awareness of it at first, and then I saw that you had to raise a thousand dollars. “Oh my gosh! That’s really really hard! I’m just going to keep trying. I’m going to try and do this, and I’m going to see where I get.” By the end of the day, I had raised $80 after about 3 hours, so I asked my sister to pitch in and a couple of my GISHWHES team mates, and they helped me out.”
I just started planning; I started thinking about what Misha does to raise money for Random Acts. It was actually quite funny because I had been in an advocacy class for writing, and a lot of what I had spent maybe the last three or four weeks researching was how to use social media as a tool to unite people and how to get them to help you with one cause. I actually had already researched Misha and the way that Misha does it. I had included him in my report, so I had a little bit of knowledge to go off of, and I also researched the cause as well and [ended up] being really really passionate about it. Everything that [Misha’s] done made me really want to help people, and this was something that I thought was absolutely perfect. I love jumping off of buildings and doing crazy things.”
I understand you were able to raise the one thousand dollars required to participate in ten days and the people who run Shatterproof were impressed that you were able to do that. What were some of the things that you did to reach your goal?
Ariana: Most of the money that I had raised was from social media. That was the majority of it. I did go to the malls and stuff like that, like the Green Peace people, and I explained what I was going to do and I explained what my goal was. I explained the problem, because I think that a lot of people recognize that addiction is a problem, but they don’t really understand it. So, I was sort of spreading Shatterproof’s mission and the reason behind Shatterproof by explaining it to them. I talked to a lot of people, and a lot of people just gave a couple dollars here and there and I know they probably don’t think that that helps much, but every dollar adds up. For social media, I first started off using different tactics. I found that there are certain ways you can word it that will make people more likely to click on the link and read about it and donate. If you ask them, “Help me reach my goal,” instead of just saying, “Please retweet this,” or, “Please just take a look at it,” then people are more likely to donate.
“I also had done the whole, “Give Misha Beans” thing. We sent him about, I don’t know, at least a hundred and twenty thousand lima bean that he donated to food banks in LA. So I had already done something similar with asking people to donate, to help out. And I think that a lot of people use the fandom that Supernatural has. Everyone’s really really passionate about Misha or Jensen [Ackles] or Jared [Padalecki]. A lot of people wanted me to meet [Misha] and to do this. They also wanted me to help people. That’s what I wanted to do.”
Because I’m terrified of heights, I was wondering what was it like actually rappelling down a building? Was it fun? Were you terrified?
Ariana: When I got there and the hours leading up before, I was like, “I’m ready! I’m going to do this. Oh yes!” And everyone was looking at me like I’m sort of like a crazy person. And my sister was like, “Alright, bye! I hope you live!” She was the only one from my family who knew I was actually doing this. So I go there and they put all the gear on and I’m just all ready and excited. They take me to this room which is where the stairs are leading up to the top of the roof. So I’m trying to do this, and I’m like, ” I’m really really bad at following directions. I’m just going to get stuck there.” I kind of leaned back and [the line] jolted and I was a little afraid for a second. Then I kind of just gained back my courage and then I went back. As I’m leaning over the edge at the top of the building right before I’m about to leave, [I’m thinking] this is insane! What did I do? I’m just looking down and it looks so much higher up from the top looking down then it does from the base looking up. I was a little afraid at the beginning because I kept getting stuck, but I got the hang of it eventually. It was funny, I had been singing, “California Girls,” by Katy Perry and I don’t even like Katy Perry! I don’t know why I started singing it. It just happened. I guess my brain thought it was a soothing song.”
I definitely admire that because when you get me on top of a tower, I don’t even want to get close to the edge. It sounds amazing – but no.
Ariana: It was really fun and I would totally do it again and I’m going to do it again! I think the reason that they were so impressed with what I had done in ten days was because a lot of the people who participate in the rappelling are already established. [They’re] business owners, they have jobs, and they’re pretty well off. And there’s me, a college girl that has three dollars to her name actually doing this. And the way that a lot of people had raised the [money] is they’d get a hundred dollar donations, three hundred dollar donations to help them get to their goal. Whereas my donations were a lot of ten, fifteen dollar donations that just all together added up. And I think that if they really need – obviously they would need more money in the future – I think that a good tactic would be to involve the youth because like I’d said, I raised a thousand dollars in ten days using mostly social media. I just kept asking people about it. So I think they [should] hit sororities and fraternities, mostly sororities because they need to do a bunch of charity stuff anyway. A lot of times [when] you do charity, you don’t really get to do something fun with it. A lot of what Shatterproof does is […] that you raise money for charity and then you do something fun as well. So I think that would really work out for a lot young people which [Shatterproof] hasn’t really focused on.”
What kind of advice do you have for people who would like to participate in this event?
Ariana: You have to raise a thousand dollars in order to rappel, and I mean, that seems pretty daunting. Sometimes I was a little discouraged because I hadn’t raised a hundred dollars in that one day and I was just like, “Okay, I can do this. I just have to keep trying.” I just think that this really shows that – I’m not special – but I think that anyone can do it as long as they try and they just study what works, what doesn’t, and they just keep going for it. They have to really believe in themselves because, I had my friends help me [saying], “You can do this! We’re going to get you there. We can do this.” If it wasn’t for my friends, I might not have made it. I might not have believed in myself.
“As for rappelling? Don’t look down! [laughs] At the top! You can look down half way, but not when you’re at the top. If you get stuck, just focus on the thing right in front of you.”
I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask, what was it like meeting Misha Collins?
Ariana: He has this air about him. It’s an air of like, “I’m a really nice person,” […] but the guy has a lot of power. The way he carries himself is just intense. He’s an intense guy and he focuses on you and it’s just very intense the way he focuses on you. But, he’s got the attention span of a child. He’ll be looking at you, and he’ll say something to you and you’ll have all of his attention and then suddenly something else will happen and then he’ll look at that and do that. It’s like, you’ll ask him a question – this happened several times – I’d ask him a question and then he did something else and I guess he must have stored that and filed it away in his brain. And then like five minutes later he answers my question as if I would remember what the question even was.
“He’s really really kind. He’s really really smart. He’s a little naughty, but I think everyone knows that. He knows what he’s doing, he’s very conscious of his jokes like the “cock hat,” which was totally on purpose. [Laughs] I could go on for hours talking about how great he is. Meeting him has really just made me more inspired to – it sort of just validated the things that I’m doing. This is my idol, this is [who] I’m basing myself off of. And you know what? After meeting him… he really deserves to be my idol. He really deserves to be that. He’s a wonderful guy. He’s very humble.
What has this whole experience meant to you and what has it left you with?
Ariana: A lot of people who had helped me get to my goal, they had shared with me some of their stories. Nobody I know has ever been affected with addiction. Nobody whom I’m related to ever had an experience like that. So I was sort of somewhat distant to it, when I first started the whole thing. I did understand that there is an issue, but after I researched it, it really made me see that it was a lot bigger of an issue than I thought before. When I was talking to people in person trying to raise the funds, I was telling them what I had just learned and it was fresh in my mind. It was something that I felt really passionate about because I just really wanted to help these people. It’s not their fault. It’s a disease. It’s not a choice and I know some people think that it is a choice, but it’s not. I live in a household – my mom thinks it’s a choice. I had a few words with her trying to convince her.
“I just think that I’m more educated about it and I have educated a lot more people about it in turn. And the whole day was the best day of my life without a doubt. I mean, I got to rappel off a building, I got to help people, and I got to meet Misha and speak with Misha. That was great! I’m just really glad that some people got help because of what I did. They got the help they needed.”
If you are interested in taking the Shatterproof challenge yourself or would like to donate, visit Shatterproof’s website here. Photos are courtesy of Shatterproof and Ariana Rowlands.
Author: Jessica Rae
Jessica has a BA in music with an emphasis in voice and spends her day typesetting, editing, writing, and moderating webinars. Jessica primarily reviews anime and comic book series. She also offers insights on various movies, books, games, and other geeky topics.
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