ET spoke with the 30-year-old actress over the phone on Thursday, where she opened up about her new Boo2Bullying campaign that's gone global. Scerbo serves as vice president for the organization, which aims to end bullying, intolerance and discrimination through free education.
Scerbo, who has been in the public eye for over a decade, certainly knows what it's like to be on the receiving end of hurtful, unnecessary comments. Most recently, the Make It or Break It star has been making headlines for her new romance with Gleb Savchenko following his split from wife Elena Samodanova. Fans who follow Scerbo on social media may have seen cyberbullies -- often using fake accounts -- leaving cruel comments on her Instagram page after pics surfaced of her hanging out with the Dancing With the Stars pro in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, earlier this month.
"I must say, I don't know that I get that much hate, considering I've seen other people getting way worse. So I don't want to play this victim, but of course, bullying doesn't discriminate. We all have some form of it," Scerbo replied, when asked how she deals with negativity on social media. "For me, at the end of the day, I know who I am and I pride myself on my integrity. No one knows who you are besides yourself, so I think that's just how you have to look at it."
"I think social media is what you make of it, so I choose to make it positive," she continued. "I follow accounts that are uplifting and, honestly, I delete anything negative. I don't care, I don't even leave it up. I don't even pay mind to it. It goes in one ear and out the other. I know who I am, I know how I was raised, and I know the person that I am, so no one else can really affect me in that way."
Scerbo told ET that something she's had to learn over the years is that "what other people think of you is none of your business."
"People are always going to have opinions about you, whether you're famous or not," she said. "People are going to have opinions, and it's probably never gonna stop. It's human nature to judge and it sucks. It's horrible, but you have the power to either let that affect you positively or negatively."
That's why Scerbo believes it's so important for her to advocate for others who may not share her same mindset, especially the youth, who "have yet to grow into that thick skin."
"It's important for us to be a voice for them," she said. "Words do hurt, and they can be very destructive. When I was younger, I used to look at any type of negativity as my fuel pot. The more hate or negativity that was thrown at me, I was like, 'This is just my fuel to go ahead and do more good, to love harder and to pursue my dreams that much more.'"
"My thoughts are as simple as this: Hurt people hurt people," she added. "When I see this trolling happening -- I've seen it on my page, I've seen it on friends' pages, I've seen it on strangers' pages -- it's never something that you want to see. But in my eyes I'm like, 'That person must be hurt.' Like, what's going on in their life that they feel the need to be destructive and critical and hurtful towards other people?"
Scerbo shared that the new Boo2Bullying challenge-based competition all started as a way to combat exactly what she was observing on other social media platforms. The organization teamed up with actor Asher Angel and Compete App to ensure that the campaign -- which asks users to upload a video of themselves shouting "boo to bullying" in a unique way -- would be a 100% bully-free zone. The grand prize winner, to be announced next month, will win $5,000.
"Honestly, I would love it if Instagram shut down comments. I obviously have no say in that, but if I worked at Instagram, I would love that!" Scerbo exclaimed. "That's why I'm now working with Compete. They do not have comments and I've just seen the bravery and the excitement, not even just with children but many adults, too, who are taking on this challenge. It's just so neat that they don't have to worry about that."
Later in the interview, Scerbo also opened up about how she's been handling the coronavirus pandemic, her plans for the holidays and goals for the New Year. Scerbo told ET she's currently in Boca Raton, Florida, spending Christmas with her family after wrapping a new film titled Ant House.
"I feel like 2020 had its ups and downs, just like every year has. And honestly, I don't mean to sound insensitive towards anybody because I know it's been such a trying year ... but for me, I've grown so much this year, more so than any other year," Scerbo explained. "I've learned so much, and it's what a lot of people were saying at the beginning of quarantine; 'When you can't go outwards, you're forced to go inwards.'"
"I did a lot of work on myself. I turned 30 this year, and I got really into meditation, gratitude journaling and all these things that I've always wanted to do," she continued. "I finally was able to just really focus on self-care and things outside of the industry. Living in Los Angeles, it's such a crazy town, and we all can get caught up on the day-to-day, moving from one event to the next, or from one set to this and that. So it was nice to just kind of be with myself."
The biggest lesson she's learned, she said, is that "everything really is mindset."
"We're here and we can't really do anything about it, so it’s your choice, you know? And my choice is just to make the best of it," Scerbo said. "Even though it was a crazy year, I definitely grew a lot in 2020, and I'm grateful for that."
Scerbo told ET that some of her goals going into 2021 is to do more work behind-the-scenes, like producing, and continue her self-care routine.
"And just staying healthy -- mind, body, spirit. That's all I can ask for in 2021, being that 2020 was a s**t show for all of us," she joked. "I think this year has also taught us to reach out more. It makes me realize how important time spent with loved ones, family and friends is, and really choosing wisely who you spend your time with. Because when you don't have time with those people, you're like, 'Oh my god, I took that for granted.'"
"So hopefully soon things will clear up with this pandemic and we can get back to squeezing our loved ones tight, and just enjoying every second, soaking it all up," she added.