MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Zoe Terry is a rising star.
She’s not a famous actress or athlete. She’s simply a girl on a mission to make other girls feel like stars, too.
“I wanted to let little brown girls know that their image is beautiful no matter what anyone else says,” Zoe said of her mission.
Zoe, a sixth grader at Miami Country Day School, says she was bullied when she was younger.
“When I was 2-years-old I had a stroke. So I couldn’t do all the physical things my classmates could do,” she explained. “I was bullied because of the color of my skin and because my hair was so puffy.”
Zoe says the bullying happened when she was just 5-years-old.
“She wanted to put a weave in her hair and straighten her hair,” said Nakia Bowling, Zoe’s mother. “And she was like, ‘I want to make my skin lighter.’ I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ It finally came out and I was livid. I cried.”
But Zoe and her mom turned those tears into triumph. Together, they created Zoe’s Dolls.
“Basically what Zoe’s Dolls, my company does, is every year around Christmas time we ask people to donate African-American dolls so we can give out dolls to brown girls all over,” she explained.
Zoe has given out more than 20,000 dolls in the U.S., Haiti, and Africa.
Now, this South Florida Survivor has created her own doll and she’s written a book, to share her story of surviving bullying.
“I am beautiful. Being different is not bad. My school helped me know that. My mom helped me know that. So that is when I got my idea to turn my bad situation into a good situation,” Zoe said. “I just wanted to make a difference. It makes me feel so good when I see the smiles on the little girls’ faces.”
Zoe was recently honored for her work with a Nickelodeon HALO Award.
“You’re showing girls everywhere that the sky’s the limit, not only through your work with Zoe’s Dolls but becoming the youngest HALO Honoree ever,” host Nick Cannon said when introducing Zoe.
HALO stands for “Helping and Leading Others” and Zoe is doing just that.
“I don’t let anything stop me,” Zoe said. “If you say negative comments, it doesn’t really affect me. I feel like I’m surviving. Nothing will ever stop me. Nothing will stop me working hard.”
Zoe says her dolls should be available by March of next year.
She says for every doll sold, she’ll give another one away to a child in need.