6 Truth Bombs From Kelly Osbourne’s SMWLA Closing Keynote



On growing up without social media: “[Jack and I] would have never gotten away with what we were able to get away with.”

Forbes 30 Under 30 alum Kelly Osbourne is “incapable of lying.”

In a refreshingly candid SMWLA closing keynote moderated by Forbes associate editor Natalie Robehmed, the reality star turned author reflected on the dark side of social media—and how millennials and Gen Z can reverse those trends to achieve a healthier balance of technology in their lives.

“Filters don’t change who you are.”

But if you want the most likes, Osbourne says that “Lark” is the way to go.

“Everyone is going through it.”

No matter who you are, or how much money or fame you have, there are challenges. “Nowadays people can’t express themselves unless it looks like they’re having a magical time and everyone wants to be someone else,” she said. Citing a lost sense of “reality” in an over-filtered social media world, Osbourne describes herself as an “analog girl living in a digital world.”

“We must be responsible with our words.”

While Osbourne admitted that she has “given up” figuring out what people will like on social media, she urged people to be more responsible with their words, especially in social media. Sometimes, the words that are shared behind a screen are even more cutting because there’s no context around a person’s intent, she said.

“Life isn’t the same as when I was a kid,” said Osbourne. “There has been a huge psychological shift in social standing. Unfollowing someone is like publicly shunning them.” Osbourne says she is similarly responsible with the products she chooses to endorse in social, and will only partner with brands and products that she personally believes in.

“We are all unique individuals with something to say.”

Social media has made it hard to express ourselves, because sharing who we are can be a scary exercise, she said. “Nobody wants to dig deep to find out who they really are.” Osbourne explained that writing her memoir, which she says took 4.5 years, was a cathartic process. “I poured myself into that book,” she said, revealing that she cried while recording the audio version of the book.

“We are all unique individuals with something to say,” she said. “It’s about being brave enough to show that to the world.”

“My biggest fear is being like everyone else.”

Osbourne remarked that social media has made us all the same. “We’re all trying to look a specific way,” she said. “Same clothes, same eyebrows.” To that end, she admitted that she goes out of her way to be different.

“Every day is a work in progress.”

Addressing her struggles with addiction and Lyme disease, Osbourne admitted that there are good days and bad days. She said that being named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List in 2014 was one of the best days of her life because it was the ultimate response to “everyone who ever said [she] was just a cliche.”

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